A transgender woman is challenging an anti-gay pastor in the mayoral race in Amarillo, Texas.

Sandra Dunn, 53, said her friends encouraged her to go for the job after pastor David Grisham announced his candidacy last week.

Mr Grisham is director of Repent Amarillo, a religious, fundamentalist group. He has said that Houston should be boycotted because its mayor, Annise Parker, is a lesbian.

Ms Dunn, who previously served in the Army, is studying for a master’s degree.

She supports better sex education in schools and is against a smoking ban.

This week, she acknowledged that her trans status could overshadow her campaign.

“That was a concern when we thought about running,” she said. “We may gain national attention.”

Speaking to the Amarillo Globe-News, Mr Grisham said of his rival: “I’m not sure that’s who you want as mayor. If they’re indecisive about who they are, are they indecisive about other issues?”