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Andrea Jenkins Breaks Barriers As Nation’s First Openly Transgender City Council President

Andrea Jenkins made history — again — when she became the first openly transgender president of a city council in the United States.

Minneapolis City Council members unanimously chose Jenkins on Monday as their president, reported the Star Tribune.

Jenkins first made history in 2017, when she became the first openly trans Black woman elected to public office in the U.S.

Though there is currently a record of more than 1,000 LGBTQ people serving in elected office across the U.S., according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, LGBTQ people still make up only 0.2% of elected officials overall.

“I hope that it serves as inspiration for other trans and gender-nonconforming people,” Jenkins told NBC News of Monday’s election. “My vision for this council and for the city of Minneapolis is that we come together and begin the really significant work of healing after our city has been rocked by the murder of George Floyd and so many other Black and brown people who have lost their lives at the hands of the state.”

In May 2020, Floyd — a Black man and a resident of Jenkins’ district — was murdered by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death, caught on video, spurred a global protest movement against racist police violence.

Days after Floyd’s death, Jenkins, then-vice president of the City Council, urged her colleagues to declare racism a public health crisis, saying, “We feel as if there was a knee on all of our collective necks ― a knee that says Black life does not matter.”

Last year, Minneapolis voters rejected a ballot measure that called for dismantling the city’s police department and replacing it with a new department of public safety.

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