Texas mayor comes out as transgender

Herbst, a former alderman and mayor pro tem, was appointed mayor in May after the previous mayor died.

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Jess Herbst became the first known openly transgender mayor in Texas when she came out to the residents of north Texas town this week.

Herbst posted an open letter on the North Texas town’s website, telling her more than 600 Collin County constituents, "I am transgender."

"As your mayor I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories," Herbst wrote. "Two years ago, with the support of my wife, daughters and son-in-law, I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). At the time, I did not imagine I would hold the mayor’s position, but here I am."

Initial reports about Herbst’s announcement described her as Texas’ first elected transgender official. But Herbst corrected the record on her Facebook page, saying that she was appointed mayor in May after the previous mayor died. She said in her letter that she has previously served New Hope as an alderman, road commissioner and mayor pro tem.

Herbst, a native of Greenville, said she moved to New Hope in 1999 and lives with her wife and their two daughters on her wife’s family farm.

"I love my wife, and she loves me, we have no intention of change," Herbst wrote in her open letter. "My daughters have been adamant supporters of me and are proud to tell people their father is transgender."

Herbst, who had been knodawn as Jeff, said she was "not especially sensitive to the pronoun I’m called, and I expect people to take time to make the change."

She invited the residents of New Hope to visit her blog if they had comments or questions.

In a Jan. 31 entry, Herbst said that during the summer "Jeff was an appearance for work only."

"Before the new year rang in, Jess was open knowledge to everyone in my life and I have abandoned appearing as Jeff," she wrote. "The new year promises quite a challenge. Please stay tuned."

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