An openly transgender person has been elected to a Maine school board, marking the first time a transgender has been elected to public office in the state.
Geo Neptune, whose Facebook page blends Black Lives Matter items with moose-hide preparation, was elected to the school board in Indian Township, reports Maine Public.
Now he’ll be helping to decide how children are educated.
The transgender advocacy organization MaineTransNet said it’s the first time a trans person has been elected to office in the state.
Neptune uses they/them pronouns, and calls himself a Two-Spirit artist and educator and a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe.
“Two-Spirit is an intersectional identity that was and is found within Indigenous cultures all across Turtle Island,” says Neptune. “A lot of people get caught up in trying to separate all of these different things and saying like, well, is it gender identity or is it sexual orientation? Or is it a spiritual role? Or is it gender and societal role? And all of those things are true.”
Of the three candidates voted onto the school board, Neptune received the most votes — about half.
“To almost stand up and say that they’re embracing me in this leadership role as a Two-Spirit was incredibly affirming,” Neptune says. “I feel very lucky that I live in a place where my community accepts me because a lot of trans people don’t have that.”
“The education system treats our own culture as supplementary, as an extracurricular activity that the kids are allowed to do, instead of treating Passamaquoddy culture and history as one of the main priorities in the education system,” says Neptune. “These youth concerns, on top of community members asking me to run, those are my two motivating reasons for running for this office.”
As a member of the school board, Neptune hopes to increase student and teacher access to Passamaquoddy culture and ceremonial teachings, as well as work toward language revitalization.