Stu Rasmussen, America’s First Openly Transgender Mayor, Dead At 73

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The former mayor of Silverton, Oregon, was remembered by friends and LGBTQ advocates for displaying “unpublished authenticity” while in office.

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Stewart “Stew” Rasmussen, the first openly transgender person to serve as mayor of an American city, died on November 19. He was 73 years old.

Rasmussen, a self-described “gender anarchistsThe one who uses both his and her pronouns is in his family with his wife Victoria Sage. (I am using both pronouns in this story.)

Kyle Palmer, the current mayor of Silverton, Oregon, confirmed the death of his predecessor at long last facebook post Last week. Rasmussen, Palmer wrote, had been in home hospice care for metastatic prostate cancer for several weeks.

“He set an example for members of our community who needed to see that it was safe to live their lives openly in our community,” Palmer wrote, “I take comfort in the knowledge that he is no longer in pain.”

News of Rasmussen’s death sparked condolences on social media from friends, LGBTQ advocates and lawmakers.

The Democrat rose to prominence in 1988 when he was first elected as mayor of Silverton—located about 15 miles east of Oregon’s capital, Salem—and served two terms. He was re-elected in 2008 After publicly coming out as transgender.

His campaign received international media coverage and later, was opposed Westboro Baptist Church, known for its anti-LGBTQ views.

However, after his victory, Rasmussen described campaign as “a very positive experience”.

“The city has accepted me as its paternal son,” he Told local news outlet KLCC those days. “And I think the election results kind of show that.”

Rasmussen’s story was memorably captured in “” for posterity.Stew for Silverton,” a 2013 musical that was produced in Seattle and New York. In 2018, Playbill reported that the musical was “Broadway-targeted”, although it has not yet been staged in Broadway theaters.

In addition to his political career, Rasmussen was a co-owner of Silverton Palace Cinema from 1974 to 2020. As a business owner, he described himself As a socially progressive but economically conservative, that often put him on the side of the city council.

“Change is not necessarily progress,” Rasmussen told the Statesman Journal In 2015, upon stepping down after six years. “This city is really good at being a small town. It has charm, it has character, and you don’t want to destroy it.”


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