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Voters recall California's first trans mayor

Voters in Calexico, California recalled Mayor Raul Urena
by WorldTribune Staff, April 22, 2024

By a wide margin, voters in the border city of Calexico, California recalled Mayor Raul Urena, who was the first trans identifying individual elected mayor in the state.

Urena, a 26-year-old biological male, identifies as a transgender woman and prefers she/they pronouns.

Urena was first elected in 2020 at the age of 23 and came out as gender-fluid and transgender in 2022 - after being re-elected.

Urena "eventually started wearing dresses and makeup in official appearances, which riled up voters who felt duped because they believed they were voting for a gay cisgender man and not a transgender woman," reported.

On April 16, nearly 74 percent of voters supported the recall of Urena, according to results released by the Imperial County registrar of voters on Wednesday night.

Another young progressive Calexico politician, City Council member Gilberto Manzanareza was also targeted by the recall campaign with 73 percent of voters in favor of ousting him.

Recall campaign organizers listed homelessness and the economy as top concerns.

Ureña and Manzanarez said they believe the recall campaign was largely motivated by transphobia, according to the LA Times.

Urena remains "hopeful and optimistic," despite the results: "We will not give up on social justice in the Imperial Valley. We're not going anywhere."

Manzanarez said in a City Council meeting on Wednesday that the young politicians were being unfairly blamed for Calexico's problems that had existed long before they were elected into office.

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