By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2014 4:37 PM ET
Transgender man Gypsy Vered Meltzer was elected to the City Council in Appleton, Wis., Tuesday, marking a memorable first, according to Madison-based LGBT advocacy organization Fair Wisconsin.
"This election is an historic moment for Wisconsin in having the first openly transgender official," Fair Wisconsin president Katie Belanger said in a statement to Appleton's Post-Crescent newspaper. "I'd hope we'd see an increase in the number of elected officials from the transgender community across the state."
Meltzer defeated Barney Lemanski by a margin of 295 to 199 votes to claim victory in the race for the council seat representing Appleton's District 2. The two political rivals appear to share mutal respect for one another, with Lemanski wishing Meltzer an enthusiastic congratulations on his Facebook page.
When asked about his transgender status, the alderman-elect deferred to the job at hand, saying, "I'm focused on the issues rather than myself, and look forward to the day when this isn't as interesting a topic." Meltzer identifies as male and uses male pronouns, according to Meltzer's Facebook page.
Appleton diversity coordinator Kathy Flores highlighted the election's significance for both Appleton and greater Wisconsin.
"We're happy to welcome Gypsy aboard in Appleton," Flores told the Post-Crescent, touting the city's recent advances in the realm of transgender rights, which include the addition of a transgender-inclusive fair housing ordinance.
Meltzer is scheduled to be sworn in April 15.