Daily Kos, USA
Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT
Mel Wymore for NYC City Council
by rserven <http://www.dailykos.com/user/rserven
> for TransAction
I first brought Mel Wymore to your attention…or tried to do so…in
December of 2011
, when he announced he was going to run for the New York City District
6 City Council seat to succeed retiring Councilwoman Gale Brewer.
District 6 is also known as Upper Clinton, Lincoln Square, and the
Upper West Side.
As I wrote at the time:
He's well qualified, having served on Community Board 7 for over a
decade. Mel ran for Chair of CB7 in the 90s and lost, but didn't give
up, running for Chair again in 2009 and winning.
Mel has lived in the neighborhood for 24 years, moving to The City
from Arizona at the age of 26.
Wymore is now 51.
I apologize for the fact that I do not know how to stop this video
from playing automatically:
[VIDEO available at
Now that the election is nearing, Wymore is starting to become more
apparent in the news
. And his status as a transman in what is starting to stand out in
those articles. If he wins, he will become the first ever openly
transgender person elected to public office in New York City and one
of only a handful of transpeople ever elected in the country.
[Photo: Mel with Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers
Against Gun Violence at gun law rally]
I want to create the inclusive community, and it goes beyond my
personal identity. But it actually lends a lot to my story and my
credibility as a candidate. I'm honest, I'm brave, I'm forthright,
and I'm willing to stand up for change.
Wymore is a Democrat, running on a message of "inclusion and care for
the EArth and care for each other." He has several opponents.
Mel is a systems engineer, specializing in structuring and managing
During 17 years on a city-appointed community board, two as
chairman, Wymore raised money to renovate a run-down city recreation
center that reopened Monday after facing a shaky future for years,
among other projects. Colleagues say he's eagerly consultative but
focused on finding resolution.
[Photo: Mel at the opening of the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center
Wymore earned a master's degree at the University of Arizona and
worked for an aerospace company before moving to New York to further a
relationship which became a marriage. Mel bore two children in that
marriage. When Mel turned 35, Mel noticed something was wrong and
came out as a lesbian. A decade later, still missing the joy in life,
Mel witnessed an interview with a transgender boy at an anti-bullying
[Photo: Mel with his children, Riley and Rowyn Paul]
It suddenly hit me that it was gender that was at the core. And,
of course, it terrified me at the same moment because I'd already been
through this family-disrupting, life-changing transition.
A Community Board member at the time, Mel's colleagues were accepting.
People knew him before and knew what kind of person he was.
Not everything went smoothly during his transition. He says he
experienced some alienating moments. The experience made him more
determined to advocate for the disabled, the elderly, and others who
[E]veryone feels excluded some time or another, for some thing or another.
Wymore's opponents include Green Party candidate Tom Siracuse and
several Democrats: restaurant executive Ken Biberaj; Democratic
Committeewoman Debra Cooper; Noah Gotbaum, founder of the volunteer
group New York Cares and a son of a prominent labor leader and stepson
of a former city public advocate; Democratic district leader Marc
Landis; and former community board chairwoman Helen Rosenthal.
The Democratic primary is in September. The general election is in November.
Transwoman Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stonewall Democrat Club of
New York City, has said that her position precludes her from endorsing
Wymore, but described Mel's candidacy as "an opportunity for
transgender people everywhere."
He’s a great representative. Many people only know of
transgender, I guess, from watching Chaz Bono on ‘Dancing With the
Stars.’ Mel Wymore brings a much different, broader experience.
Wymore does have the endorsement of the Victory Fund
, which selected him as one of their focus races. You can contribute
at that link.
You can follow Mel on Twitter: @melwymore. And he's on Facebook:
I got an email from Mel two days ago asking for volunteers for phone
banking, etc…which I accidentally deleted (There are some things I
dislike about my iPad). But if you have the time and inclination, I'm
sure he'd love to have your assistance.
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