Marie Cau became the first transgender person to be elected mayor in France this weekend. Mayor Cau was selected Saturday by the council of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, a small village near the Belgium border.
The 55-year-old ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy.
Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ms. Cau said she was “not an activist” and wanted to focus on municipal politics.
1ère femme transgenre élue maire en France ~ dans un village de 550 habitants @hautsdefrance ~ Marie Cau est une édile qui revendique sa volonté de changement. Son élection symbolise un peuple français de + en + ouvert, et qui privilégie la compétence :https://t.co/LUDpGF18zq
— Fédération LGBTI+ (@FederationLGBT) May 24, 2020
“People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme,” said Marie Cau, “That’s what’s interesting: when things become normal, you don’t get singled out.”
Mayor Marie Cau noted that while France has suffered a surge in transphobic and homophobic incidents last year she has always felt welcomed and accepted by the citizens of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes.
Marie Cau wrote explaining why she wanted to enter municipal elections.
“The idea came to me this summer, I walked around Tilloy and met beautiful people full of talents, experiences with desires to make things happen,” she said, “And above all, I felt kindness even though we often like to complain.
I decided to bring this energy together and move the village.
My dream would be to find the image of this “sweet France”, of a certain idea of the happiness that is part of our culture.
Maintaining our rural and natural environment is the wish of many Tillotins, and it is possible.
The means of the village are limited but by joining together we can succeed.
“We are proud of our list, it’s a great team and I thank them for supporting me on this adventure with such fun and kindness.” She said.
Ms. Cau studied at the private institute in Genech and graduated with an Agricultural Technician degree and a BTS Horticultural and has taught agricultural high school.
Marie Cau, a resident of Tilloy for 20 years lives with her partner and 3 children is also a veteran.
“Then I made the army in the navy, this left me some amazing memories.” She said.
When she got back, she turned to computer technology and obtained a degree in Engineering. She plans to continue her IT career while in office, working for companies in both France and Belgium.
Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa celebrated her win in a tweet: “Trans visibility, and therefore the fight against transphobia, also requires the exercise of political or public responsibilities.
Congratulations to Marie Cau!”
La visibilité trans, et donc la lutte contre la transphobie, passe aussi par l’exercice de responsabilités politiques ou publiques.
Félicitations à Marie Cau ! #démocratie #LGBT+ https://t.co/1QEap6redr
— ?? MarleneSchiappa (@MarleneSchiappa) May 24, 2020
Residents of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes – a commune of under 600 inhabitants on the Belgian border – voted in municipal elections in March.
They elected all the councilors from the “Deciding Together” list, among them Ms. Cau. On Saturday these councilors voted nearly unanimously to make her the new mayor of the town.
— Fédération LGBTI+ (@FederationLGBT) May 25, 2020