Meet the People Making 2017 the Year of the Trans Candidate

03 Mel Wymore

Mel Wymore, New York City Council

Mel Wymore is running for the New York City Council; if elected, he would be the first trans person elected to office in New York State and in any major U.S. city. He is running in District 6 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side against incumbent Helen Rosenthal, a fellow progressive Democrat who barely beat him in the party primary in 2013. In the 2013 race he had the endorsement of The New York Times.

Donald Trump’s election as president motivated Wymore to try again, he recently told the New York Daily News. “I’m running because Trump won and that was a big wake-up call for us. And for me that means we have to do better,” Wymore said. “And I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think we could do better here on the Upper West Side.”

Wymore has served as executive director of TransPAC, which works to elect progressive candidates in New York State. In addition to advancing LGBT rights, he plans to work for more affordable housing, create a better environment for small businesses, and improve constituent services.

He is a longtime activist. When he moved into his Upper West Side apartment 25 years ago, he discovered terrible conditions in a neighboring building. He organized his block and started a food and health care program that provided services to that building for 20 years. Since then, he has cofounded or chaired more than 30 organizations and civic groups and served two terms as chair of his local community board, where he fought developers to win construction of two new public schools, permanent affordable housing, a new recreation center, and the expansion of Riverside Park.

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