NEW HOPE, Texas (KXAN) — The mayor of New Hope, a small town in north Texas, is making national headlines after announcing she is transgender, according to KXAS.
Jess Herbst issued an open letter to locals explaining her journey as a transgender woman. Herbst says she began hormone replacement therapy right before she took office in 2016.
“I know that transgender people are just coming to light in our society, and we have made great strides in the last few years,” said Herbst in the letter. “It is gender identity not sexual preference that applies to me.”
With the support of her wife and two daughters, Herbst says she is proud to live her life as a female. While she isn’t sensitive to the pronouns she’s called as people adjust to the change, Herbst says she will now use the name Jess instead of Jeff.
- You can follow her blog detailing her experiences here
On her blog, Herbst says she is the first seated transgender mayor on record. She previously served as alderman, road commission and mayor pro-tem.
“Pronouns seem to be something especially hard for people,” says Herbst on her blog. She goes on to delve into how gender is rooted in language and compares German to English saying “I’m kind of like the door in German, only they all learned it as masculine, only to find out later it was feminine all along.”
Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox were both mentioned in the letter as examples of how society has begun to learn about the transgender community and “who we are,” says Herbst.
New Hope is in Collin County and has a population of more than 600 people.