Utah could soon have its first openly transgender elected official.
On Monday, Sophia Hawes-Tingey, a transgender woman, announced her candidacy for City Council District 2 in Midvale, Utah, a Salt Lake City suburb, Fox13 Salt Lake City reported. She is challenging incumbent councilman Paul Glover. Midvale's city council elections are non-partisan.
Hawes-Tingey is a software engineer and Navy veteran.
While Hawes-Tingey acknowledges the historic nature of her candidacy, she told The Huffington Post that she is focusing her campaign on local issues like public safety, empowerment of marginalized communities and environmental stewardship.
“I know to the LGBT community, they see this as a message of hope. But this is a race about community values,” she said to Fox13.
National and state-level LGBT groups like the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund have endorsed Hawes-Tingey.
Although Utah is a deeply conservative state, same-sex marriage is legal there, and the state bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. At least three openly gay and lesbian candidates are running for office in the state.
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