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Voters Stand Behind Transgender Mayor

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As GLAAD covered and blogged about at the beginning of November, voters in Oregon helped to make their own first this election year. The small town of Silverton elected America's first transgender mayor by an overwhelming 59%.

Stu Rasmussen will be serving his third term as Mayor of Silverton, Ore, but the first term out of the closet. Rasmussen is transgender and identifies as a "heterosexual male who appears to be a female".

In post-election coverage a Silverton reporter, Marc Beaudoin. told The Oregonian that Rasmussen is "interested in doing a great job for the community that he loves. The gender identity thing is just a total backseat thing[.]"

Despite Silverton voters being able to see more than gender identity, congregates from Fred Phelps' anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church descended upon the city to protest Rasmussen's election. Four people traveled to Oregon with signs declaring anti-gay epithets and slogans such as "You're Going to Hell". For about an hour they gathered on one side of a main road in the town.

With as much enthusiasm as they elected their mayor, 150 residents of Silverton stood in counter-protest across the way. From a separate article in The Oregonian:

"The counterprotesters were waiting across the two-lane street -- men in skirts and boots, moms with babes in arm, lifelong Silverton residents alongside kids playing hooky from Salem schools. The crowd of about 150 waved and drummed and hugged. Their signs, homemade, hurriedly produced on office laser printers and painted on the back of campaign yard signs, focused on the positive.

"My love is bigger than your hate," read one. "We love Stu (and so does God)." "Everyone is welcome in Silverton.""

This is the second time the Westboro Baptist Church has traveled to Oregon. Two years ago they came to protest the funeral of Navy Seal Marc Lee, killed on patrol in Iraq.

Here is the original video we posted from The Oregonian:

Issues: