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America's First Transgender Mayor Sells Shoe Collection for Charity

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Move over Imelda Marcos—Stu Rasmussen, the nation's first openly transgender mayor, is auctioning off his extensive shoe collection for a good cause: raising money for his city during economically challenging times.

As mayor of Silverton, Ore., Rasmussen, who is fine with either singular pronoun but is most comfortable when referred to as “he,” hopes the proceeds from his shoe auction will enable the city to continue operating facilities such as the Senior Center and public swimming pool.

One pair of floral, snake skin heels is now on Ebay for $10,000. The shoes are being sold by Silverton Estate, a consignment company in the city.

“Being the imaginative and resourceful person Mayor Stu is,” the listing says, “there is now a unique opportunity for you to acquire a bit of authentic American history and support worthy local non-profits and public amenities at the same time.”

The shoes come with a photo of Rasmussen wearing them and a signed Certificate of Authenticity on 'City of Silverton – Office of the Mayor' letterhead. As an elected official, Rasmussen can't profit from the sales, so all proceeds will be a tax-deductible donation.

“I guess the unique and creative and crazy thing I did was to decide, 'Well, let's turn my shoe surplus as the first openly transgender mayor in the United States into historic collectibles’ and see if we can find a market for them," he told KGW, a local television news station.

He's found support in Silverton city manager Bill Willoughby, who told the NY Daily News that he hopes Rasmussen sells a lot of shoes because “every dollar of new revenue would be a good thing.”

An elected official for over 20 years, Rasmussen became known for his eclectic, eye-catching taste in footwear since becoming mayor in 2008. He's just as passionate about Silverton, a city of under 10,000 people. He calls the town his favorite subject, and ran his re-election campaign pledging to keep its small-town lifestyle alive.

Silverton loves him, too.

"I was blessed by a partner and a community that accepted me for what I was, whatever I wanted to be,” Rasmussen told TakePart in an interview last year. 

Rasmussen has not completely steered clear of controversy. In 2009, the city council attempted to censure him for what they called inappropriate attire.

Though opinion was somewhat divided, Rasmussen did receive support from residents, who attributed the ban to discrimination because of Rasmussen's gender.

“Any woman could have shown up in that same outfit and would not have been condemned,” Silverton resident Illene Conrad said at a city council meeting

He's also been picketed by the hate-spewing Westboro Baptist Church group, whose leader, Fred Phelps, died last week.

Last year a musical about Rasmussen debuted at Seattle's Intiman Theatre.

Original article from TakePart


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