A Hawaii woman
won a seat on the state board of education and, according
to national advocacy groups, a place in history as the
nation's highest-ranking transgender elected official.
Kim Coco Iwamoto,
a 38-year-old attorney, did not tout her gender status
in the campaign but has advocated for transgender youth and
related issues. She came in third Tuesday in the
competition for three seats on the 14-member board,
which governs the islands' 285 public schools.
Iwamoto would be
the highest-ranking openly transgender person elected in
the United States, said Denis Dison, a spokesman for the
Victory Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based group
that tracks lesbian, gay, and transgender candidates
and helps fund their campaigns.
Iwamoto, who was
born on the island of Kauai and attended a Catholic
boys' school in Honolulu, did not immediately respond to
requests for an interview.
elected transgender candidates in the United States were
primarily limited to local seats such as city alderman or
council members, Dison said.
Iwamoto has a law
degree from the University of New Mexico. She was
featured in a handbook on transgender policy for her
advocacy of special restroom facilities on the
school's campus after she was harassed for using the
women's bathroom. (AP)