Native American Two Spirit person becomes the first openly transgender official elected in the state of Maine
An openly transgender Two Spirit person has been elected to public office for the very first time in the state of Maine.
Geo Soctomah Neptune, 32, is a Two Spirit member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe who describes themselves as non-binary, trans feminine and gender non-conforming.
They have just won election to the school board in the Passamaquoddy Indian Township, where they will proudly serve a four-year term.
“To my knowledge, I am the first Two Spirit person to run for any kind of office in our community,” Neptune wrote on Facebook.
“I mention this because it is a big part of who I am; being transgender and non-binary is part of who I am, and part of who you would be electing, should you select my name.”
Neptune ran for the school board after being urged by community members and tribal youth, who were familiar with their work as an art teacher in an after-school program. Of the three candidates elected, 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 told Maine Public. “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.”
Quinn Gormley, executive director of MaineTransNet, says Neptune’s election is a mark of progress in the community.
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“We expect these electoral victories to happen in Portland,” Gormley said, “but often small communities are more willing to embrace whole identities.”
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As a member of the school board, Neptune hopes to increase student and teacher access to Passamaquoddy culture and ceremonial teachings, and work towards revitalising the native language.
“I feel confident saying that I am a person who makes their opinions known, and is not afraid to speak out against injustice when I see it,” they said as part of their campaign.
“I care for our culture very deeply, and see the preservation of our language and other traditions for future generations as being my first priority… confidence in one’s cultural identity translates to confidence in life.”