Mel Wymore, 51, may become New York City's first openly transgender city council member if he wins his bid for office this coming election.
Wymore, a longtime advocate for the Upper West Side community, began his organizing efforts twenty-five years ago. As he has enjoyed serving his community as a volunteer activist, Wymore says that running for public office was the "next logical step…so [he could do that kind of work for constituents, policy-making and community visioning work, full time."
Some of Wymore's activist efforts include his fifteen-year-long project to renovate the 59th Street Recreation Center, his petitioning for a new school to be built in his district, and his implementation of a West Side bike lane, among other projects.
Though Wymore clearly states his identity as a transgender person is not the central focus of his campaign, he is open about his history and identity and says that his experiences with marginalization have informed his activist work. In an interview with Rainbow Gray, Wymore speaks on his enhanced sense of having an independent voice as a trans man: "if you are someone who has a path that is different from what most people have—an idea or a project or a way to solve a problem…that most people don't have—to be able to have the courage to face almost uniform disagreement or difference in perspective, that's a big deal to have that kind of courage."