A small town south of Milan in Italy has elected a transgender activist as its mayor, in a first for the country.
Tromello, which has a population of 3,700, voted in Gianmarco Negri as their new mayor on Sunday (May 26).
Negri won 37.5 percent of the vote.
A 40-year-old lawyer, Negri ran under the slogan “CambiaMenti per Tromello,” which was a play on words between “Changes for Tromello” and “Changing Minds for Tromello.”
Negri beat his far-right opponent, Renato Cappa, in the four-way race. Cappa, a candidate for the League, Italy’s right-wing party, came second with 26 percent of the vote.
Before running for mayor, Negri spoke about his journey on the local TV show Love Me Gender. “I’ve always felt like a man. I tried to repress my being a woman several times, but four years ago I took the first steps to transition,” he said.
Negri said, “I don’t know if I consider myself a symbol for the battle of our rights, but I try and do my part.”
Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesman for Italian LGBT+ rights organisation Gay Centre, told Gay Ireland News and Entertainment: “We are hopeful that the coming elections will see more gay, lesbian and trans candidates elected for a more inclusive Italy.”
“We recently launched the #vototrans (#transvote) campaign, aimed to raise awareness on trans folks who are discriminated by the voting lists system in Italy,” said Marrazzo. “Trans people are often forced to queue in lists that don’t correspond to their gender identity: trans women have to queue in men’s lines and vice versa. Because of this system, many trans people chose not to avail of their right to vote.”
Sunday’s European Parliamentary elections saw 34 percent of Italy’s votes go to deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini‘s League party in a shock win, with just 18.7 percent of Italians voting for the centre-left Democratic Party.