The residents of Très-Saint-Redempteur – a small village located to the west of Montreal elected a transgender Julie Lemieux as mayor.
For years, Très-Saint-Redempteur has been known for the historical Catholic Church that towers over the village. From now on, this small rural town will also be recognized as the place that preferred “skills over status” to openly elect the country’s first transgender mayor.
Julie Lemieux’s victory came last week. However, there wasn’t much coverage given to the event as the mainstream limelight focused on the election of Valérie Plante – the first ever female mayor of Montreal.
Lemieux, who bagged 48 percent of the total votes casted during the election, said, “People needed renewal in the village, and they decided to choose me to incarnate that change.”
In addition to being recognised as the first transgender mayor of Canada, this victory made Lemieux the first ever woman to be elected mayor in her municipality – Très-Saint-Redempteur was established in 1881.
“It shows something we don’t necessarily see in the media: in the villages, too, there is acceptance and social openness,” 45-year old Lemieux pointed out in an interview with the press.
She went on to explain that the small community of Très-Saint-Redempteur was well aware of the fact that she was born a man. She termed it as “an open secret.”
There were however, opposition supporters who made attempts at marginalising Lemieux’s candidacy. However, none of their attempts were successful.
Lemieux also mentioned that throughout her campaign and electoral promotion, there were no events that made her feel judged or scorned as she held meetings with different constituents.
There was a high voter turnout during the election. Almost 70 percent of the village’s less than 1000-people population came out to vote.
The village residents are happy with Lemieux’s victory.
“We really needed change… Her orientation doesn’t change anything for me. We don’t look at that; we look at her skills… We need to make space for women… It’s competence that’s most important,” said Chantal Brault – a resident of Très-Saint-Redempteur.