Owen J. Hurcum has just been elected the youngest mayor in Welsh history and the first openly non-binary mayor of any city in the world.
The 23-year-old, who identifies as genderqueer, agender and non-binary, was unanimously voted in by The City of Bangor Council following this year’s elections.
Hurcum previously held the position as deputy mayor and worked as a councillor for four years.
Following the news, the Bangor university graduate tweeted: “When I came out two years ago I was so worried I’d be ostracized by my community or worse. Today my community elected me mayor of our great city.
“The youngest ever mayor in Wales. The first ever openly non-binary mayor of any city anywhere. Beyond humbled, Diolch Bangor.”
Hurcum later explained how they will use their new position to enact change.
“I’ll be wanting to use my term to promote Bangor as much as I can, bring in investment and interest and celebrate the multi cultural community that makes out city the greatness that it is,” they wrote.
The post went viral on Twitter, amassing over 40 thousands likes and counting, with users from all corners of the world congratulating Hurcum on their “historic and trailblazing” appointment.
After thanking their followers for their support, Hurcum said they’re determined to fight for better representation of non-binary people.
“I know representation is not just putting on the chain and I’ll be judged by what we do as a team for Bangor during my year in office,” they said. “But still, I’m glad my election has resonated with so many.”
There were a few Twitter users who contested Hurcum’s claim of being the world’s first non-binary city major, suggesting Georgina Beyer, who was elected mayor of Carterton in New Zealand in 1995, was actually the first.
However, many pointed out that Beyer is transgender and defines as female.
In response, Hurcum wrote: “I believe she was the first openly transgender mayor anywhere, and not non-binary, that was what I got when I first looked her up but I’m obviously happy to be corrected if my research was incorrect.”
When I came out two years ago I was so worried I'd be ostracized by my community or worse. Today my community elected me Mayor of our great City. The youngest ever Mayor in Wales. The first ever openly Non-Binary Mayor of any city anywhere. Beyond humbled, Diolch Bangor 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/pGHiaQTVaO
— Mayor Owen J Hurcum 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@OwenJHurcum) May 10, 2021
I just want to say a huge diolch to all the lovely messages that are still coming in. I know representation is not just putting on the chain and Ill be judged by what we do as a team for Bangor during my year in office, but still, Im glad my election has resonated with so many 💜 pic.twitter.com/DNCzQyppDg
— Mayor Owen J Hurcum 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@OwenJHurcum) May 11, 2021
In an interview with North Wales Live, Hurcum, who is originally from Harrow, London, said they came to Bangor five years ago because “it was a place to study and it looked quite nice”.
“Within a week, I fell in love with it and tried to throw myself into the city’s culture,” they said. “Bangor has a lot to offer and I hope I can do a good job of showing and embracing that.”
Hurcum’s start date as mayor is currently undecided due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. However, the politician expressed pride in their community for “rallying together to get everyone through this”.
“From those who set up Bangor Emergency Resources for Self Isolators (BERSI) to our key workers keeping our community supplied and healthy,” they told the publication.
“I would also like to stress the good work that all our local councillors are doing, so please, if you need anything, any level of support, contact your local city councillors and we will all be ready to help.”
You can read Hurcum’s full interview with North Wales Live here.