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I first brought Mel Wymore to your attention…or tried to do so…in December of 2011, when he announced he was going to run for the New York City District 6 City Council seat to succeed retiring Councilwoman Gale Brewer.

District 6 is also known as Upper Clinton, Lincoln Square, and the Upper West Side.

As I wrote at the time:

He's well qualified, having served on Community Board 7 for over a decade.  Mel ran for Chair of CB7 in the 90s and lost, but didn't give up, running for Chair again in 2009 and winning.

Mel has lived in the neighborhood for 24 years, moving to The City from Arizona at the age of 26.

Wymore is now 51.

I apologize for the fact that I do not know how to stop this video from playing automatically:

Now that the election is nearing, Wymore is starting to become more apparent in the news.  And his status as a transman in what is starting to stand out in those articles.  If he wins, he will become the first ever openly transgender person elected to public office in New York City and one of only a handful of transpeople ever elected in the country.

 photo wymore_zps651d5813.jpeg
Mel with Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence at gun law rally

I want to create the inclusive community, and it goes beyond my personal identity.  But it actually lends a lot to my story and my credibility as a candidate.  I'm honest, I'm brave, I'm forthright, and I'm willing to stand up for change.


Wymore is a Democrat, running on a message of "inclusion and care for the EArth and care for each other."  He has several opponents.

Mel is a systems engineer, specializing in structuring and managing complex projects.

During 17 years on a city-appointed community board, two as chairman, Wymore raised money to renovate a run-down city recreation center that reopened Monday after facing a shaky future for years, among other projects.  Colleagues say he's eagerly consultative but focused on finding resolution.
 photo GertrudeEderle_zps6193aa94.jpg
Mel at the opening of the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center

Wymore  earned a master's degree at the University of Arizona and worked for an aerospace company before moving to New York to further a relationship which became a marriage.  Mel bore two children in that marriage.  When Mel turned 35, Mel noticed something was wrong and came out as a lesbian.  A decade later, still missing the joy in life, Mel witnessed an interview with a transgender boy at an anti-bullying event.

 photo WYMORE-articleLarge_zps56d5231e.jpg
Mel with his children, Riley and Rowyn Paul

It suddenly hit me that it was gender that was at the core.  And, of course, it terrified me at the same moment because I'd already been through this family-disrupting, life-changing transition.

--Mel Wymore

A Community Board member at the time, Mel's colleagues were accepting.
People knew him before and knew what kind of person he was.

--Madge Rosenberg

Not everything went smoothly during his transition.  He says he experienced some alienating moments.  The experience made him more determined to advocate for the disabled, the elderly, and others who feel overlooked.
[E]veryone feels excluded some time or another, for some thing or another.


Wymore's opponents include Green Party candidate Tom Siracuse and several Democrats: restaurant executive Ken Biberaj; Democratic Committeewoman Debra Cooper; Noah Gotbaum, founder of the volunteer group New York Cares and a son of a prominent labor leader and stepson of a former city public advocate; Democratic district leader Marc Landis; and former community board chairwoman Helen Rosenthal.
The Democratic primary is in September.  The general election is in November.

Transwoman Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stonewall Democrat Club of New York City, has said that her position precludes her from endorsing Wymore, but described Mel's candidacy as "an opportunity for transgender people everywhere."

He’s a great representative.  Many people only know of transgender, I guess, from watching Chaz Bono on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’  Mel Wymore brings a much different, broader experience.

--Melissa Sklarz

Wymore does have the endorsement of the Victory Fund, which selected him as one of their focus races.  You can contribute at that link.

You can follow Mel on Twitter:  @melwymore.  And he's on Facebook:  VoteMelWymore.  

I got an email from Mel two days ago asking for volunteers for phone banking, etc…which I accidentally deleted (There are some things I dislike about my iPad).  But if you have the time and inclination, I'm sure he'd love to have your assistance.

Originally posted to TransAction on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community.

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