Last night, voters in Appleton, Wisconsin made history when they elected 31-year-old Gypsy Vered Meltzer to the city council. Meltzer is the first openly transgender elected official in the state. He identifies as male and uses male pronouns.
Meltzer told the Appleton Post-Crescent that he expects there to be a few bumps along the way, especially at first, but that he's determined not to let any negativity that may arise get in the way of him serving his constituents.
"I can see some push back, but I hope they'll get over it," Meltzer said. "I hope things don't go that route. I don't want to lose focus on the issues and increasing communications between the city and its residents."
"I am very excited to make history as the first openly transgender elected official in the state of Wisconsin. I think I'm also the first with dreadlocks and 50+ tattoos. Many voices in our community have been marginalized for far too long, and I look forward to working with everyone I can in order to change that."
Meltzer, a 14-year Appleton resident, defeated his opponent in last night's election by a 96-vote margin. The final tally was 295-199.
Equality advocates in the Badger State heralded Meltzer's election. Katie Belanger, president of the statewide LGBT group Fair Wisconsin, called it "an historic moment for Wisconsin" and said she hoped Meltzer's victory would inspire other trans people to seek and win elected office across the state.
Kathy Flores, diversity coordinator for the city of Appleton, said that Meltzer's election, along with a new trans-inclusive fair housing ordinance, show that Appleton is making strides in both the protection and inclusion of trans people. "We're happy to welcome Gypsy aboard," she said.
Congratulations, Gypsy, on your victory -- and on making history in America's Dairyland!