The 2013 Democratic primary was a very crowded one. Transgender Mel Wymore was edged out, coming in second place. Now, Wymore plans to run for the Upper West Side seat again, hoping to become the first transgender person on New York’s city council.
Wymore is running for the seat currently held by New York Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, also a Democrat who actively supports transgender rights. Rosental’s opponent says Trump’s victory became a big wake up call for the transgender community, and the American people as a whole.
The city council hopeful says now we know “we have to do better.” And, that’s what he plans to do for the Upper West Side. Some of the improvements Wymore plans to make include:
- More responsiveness
- More engagement and inclusion of marginalized communities
“There’s a sense of people feeling divided, feeling dismissed, feeling left behind and excluded, and I feel that, right now especially, it’s important for us to feel united, active, engaged and really caring for each other,” Wymore said.
Wymore is a longtime community board member and executive director of TransPAC, which aims to advance trans rights in the state, and said he wasn’t running to highlight transgender issues — but that it was “more of a relevant issue right now” given Trump’s election. His administration has sought to reverse course on allowing trans students to use the bathrooms of their choosing.
“There’s an opportunity for the Upper West Side to send a strong and clear message that we are progressives, we’re not going to allow ourselves to be divided and we’re going to broaden our sense of inclusion,” Wymore said.
Wymore also hit on other typical City Council campaign issues like a need for more affordable housing, less red tape for small business owners and better constituent services.
“Our current council member is just not delivering the services we deserve on the Upper West Side,” he said.
Rosenthal said she was proud of her work on the Upper West Side, from local issues to helping save millions on a city contracts.
“We’ve done a lot in terms of integrating schools, we’ve done a tremendous amount to help tenants who are facing harassment and eviction,” she said. “I’m hoping people will elect me for a second term. There’s a lot more good work ahead.”