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California’s first transgender mayor is kicked out of office

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Raul Ureña

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In a long-anticipated recall vote, Calexico has decided to remove the first transgender mayor in California from office, a move that the politician attributes to transphobia.

Transgender

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Mayor Raul Ureña, aged 26, identifies as a transgender woman and prefers she/they pronouns.

Elected in 2020

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Ureña, who was elected in 2020 at the age of 23, publicly revealed their gender-fluid and transgender identity in 2022, following their re-election.

Mayor’s choice

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The mayor’s choice to wear dresses and makeup during official duties stirred controversy among voters who felt misled, believing they had voted for a gay cisgender man rather than a transgender woman.

Recall

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Despite this, nearly 74 percent of voters supported the recall of the City Councilmember on April 16, as per early results from the Imperial County registrar of voters.

Calexico official

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Another Calexico official, who worked alongside Ureña, was also a target of the recall campaign.

Disturbing

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Since 2022, Ureña has been actively resisting recall attempts and faced a disturbing incident at a pride flag-raising event last June.

Aggressively

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During the ceremony, a protester named Rebecca Lemon aggressively confronted the mayor, hurling insults and physically attacking them, which led to intervention by three police officers.

Altercation

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Lemon, who initiated the recall campaign against Ureña, withdrew from the effort following the altercation.

Democratic population

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Calexico, located in southern Imperial County on the California-Mexico border, has a predominantly Democratic population, but saw an increase in Republican voters from under 10 percent in 2016 to nearly 27 percent in 2020.

Ureña’s removal

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While those advocating for Ureña’s removal emphasize respect for personal sexual preferences during the recall process, Ureña has expressed that her gender identity has been weaponized against her throughout her political tenure.

Transphobia

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Councilmember Gilberto Manzanarez, facing a 73% recall vote, believes transphobia influenced the campaign alongside Ureña. Ureña remains optimistic, focusing on social justice, while Manzanarez highlights unfair blame for city issues like downtown decline.

First transgender mayor

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Maritza Hurtado, a recall leader, previously criticized Ureña and Manzanarez. Ureña, the first transgender mayor along the US/Mexico border, discusses feeling vulnerable as a transgender person but emphasizes representing diverse constituents.

Struggles

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Ureña shares struggles coming out and parental concerns for safety.

Criticized

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Residents criticized Ureña’s appearance on social media upon her mayoral election.

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