Owen Hurcum, 23, was elected unanimously last year by the City Council in Bangor, Wales after they served as deputy mayor for a year

By Katie Campione
May 13, 2021 09:23 PM
Advertisement
Owen Hurcum
Credit: twitter

The world's first openly nonbinary mayor took office on Monday.

Owen Hurcum, 23, was elected unanimously last year by the City Council in Bangor, Wales, after they served as deputy mayor for a year, North Wales Live reports.

Hurcum, who is genderqueer, was sworn in on Monday after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"When I came out two years ago I was so worried I'd be ostracized by my community or worse," Hurcumy wrote on Twitter Monday alongside a photo of them wearing the official mayoral chain. "Today my community elected me Mayor of our great City. The youngest ever Mayor in Wales."

Hurcum has lived in Bangor for nearly five years, after moving there to attend Bangor University.

"I came here as a student five years ago, just because it was a place to study and it looked quite nice," Hurcum told North Wales Live. "Within a week, I fell in love with it and tried to throw myself into the city's culture."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Hurcum said it is "an honor" to serve as the city's mayor, adding that their first goals will involve bringing the community together after a difficult year.

"My first steps as Bangor's mayor will be reaching across the different divisions of the community, continuing the good work of the departing mayor, and trying to get more grants in to develop the city," they said.

"I really want to work on bringing more funds to improve the high street, push for more green spaces and promote the interconnected communities between the university and the city itself," they continued, adding "It's about representing Bangor and trying to sell it as a destination."

Hurcum also told North Wales Live that they hope their appointment will open the door for more young, diverse groups to enter into the political sphere.

"Politics, ethics and community are all connected, but politics affects everything and decides everything within a community," they said.

They continued, "I hope I can offer fresh ideas and deliver them through a new way, which will essentially be good for Bangor."

Hurcum is part of a growing list of transgender and nonbinary elected officials across the globe.

In 1999, New Zealand's Georgina Beyer became the world's first transgender member of parliament, after previously claiming the title of the world's first trans mayor. In 2011, Tony Briffa became the world's first openly intersex mayor.

In the United States, Oklahoma Rep. Mauree Turner became the first openly nonbinary state representative last year, while Delaware's Sarah McBride became the first openly transgender state Senator. In 2017, Danica Roem became the first openly trans person to serve in any U.S. state legislature.