Texas Mayor Comes Out As Transgender

Jess Herbst was appointed mayor of New Hope, Texas, in May.

The mayor of a small Texas town has taken the very big step of coming out as transgender.

Jess Herbst, appointed mayor of New Hope in May, wrote an open letter to her constituents sharing her truth.


“Two years ago, with the support of my wife, daughters and son-in-law, I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT),” she wrote. “At the time, I did not imagine I would hold the Mayors (sic) position, but here I am.”

Herbst, who has lived in the town since 1999, says she intends to stay on as mayor. New Hope is only 1.7 square miles around, with a population of just over 600, but Herbst says she’s been met with “immediate acceptance and overall enthusiasm” from colleagues.

“The very next day HR was happy to update my name and photo for my ID badge,” she wrote in a November blog post. “I have not been back in male disguises since.”

State Capitol, Austin, Texas. (Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Her disclosure comes as lawmakers in the Lone Star State are considering a North Carolina-style bathroom bill. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the “Texas Privacy Act” is a priority for him this year.

“If laws are passed by cities and counties and school districts allowing men to go into a bathroom because of the way they feel,” he claimed, “we will not be able to stop sexual predators from taking advantage of that law, like sexual predators take advantage of the Internet.”

Though he concedes there’s never been a case of a trans person assaulting anyone in a bathroom, Patrick insisted the measure “protects children in public school – in bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.