U.S. first trans mayor Stu Rasmussen dies at 73

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Stewart ‘Stu’ Rasmussen, mayor of Silverton, Oregon, 2008-2014, has died aged 73. (Facebook / Stu Rasmussen Fan Group)

The first openly trans mayor in the United States, Stu Rasmussen, has died at the age of 73.

Rasmussen was elected mayor of Silverton in western Oregon, a small town of about 10,000 people, in 2008.

His death (Rasmussen was a self-proclaimed ‘gender anarchist‘ and used both he / him and her / her pronouns) was announced on Facebook by Kyle Palmer, the current mayor of Silverton, who said Rasmussen was dead. after several weeks. in palliative home care for metastatic prostate cancer ”.

According to Palmer, Rasmussen’s longtime partner Victoria said “he has bravely gone into the unknown on his own terms.”

Palmer added that a documentary on Rasmussen’s life and the international attention she received in 2008 when she became mayor of Silverton was recently filmed.

The documentary will focus on an incident in 2008 where the Westboro Baptist Church traveled to Silverton to protest Rasmussen being mayor – and was greeted by a large crowd of residents, many of whom wore robes, arguing Rasmussen and demanded that the church leave town.

“It was a pretty unique moment,” Palmer told the Journal of the Statesmen of Salem. “Our fellow citizens who dressed in dresses. Many of them made signs saying “Not in our town”, “Leave”, “Stu is our mayor.” I know it was extremely moving for him.

Rasmussen was mayor of Silverton until 2014, and held several other positions on city council and the public library. She also co-owned and ran the Palace Cinema with her business partner Roger Paulson – a one-screen cinema that remained open in Silverton from 1974 to 2020.

“I will never forget to have the right to see Star wars twice a night for seven consecutive days at the age of 11 in 1977, but it was also not uncommon to go to the Palace for popcorn and enjoy a movie in the background ”, Palmer said. “The ridiculously low ticket prices and the fact that an entire family could have popcorn and a drink for under $ 10 was a welcome relief, as movies elsewhere have become unaffordable for many.”

Palmer continued, “Throughout his career as an elected official, Stu has stood up for many things on behalf of those who shared his vision of Silverton. While citizens may debate their support or lack of support for some of these visions, the time for these conversations is long past. His volume of service to municipal government, his role as a longtime downtown business owner, and his impact on the LGBTQ population in Silverton and beyond leave a huge legacy behind him.

“My thoughts are with Victoria, as she faces life without Stuart for the first time in many decades. I take comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain.


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