Politics

World’s first non-binary mayor Owen J Hurcum to stand down after ‘change of circumstances’

Vic Parsons March 15, 2022
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Owen J Hurcum, the world's first openly non-binary mayor

Owen J Hurcum announced they won't be standing for re-election – because they're renovating a boat. (Twitter/OwenJHurcum)

Bangor’s non-binary mayor, Owen J Hurcum, has announced they’re not standing for re-election because of a “change of circumstances in [their] personal life”.

Hurcum, 25, became the world’s first openly non-binary mayor in May 2021, when they were unanimously elected as mayor of Bangor, Wales’ oldest city.

They had previously worked as deputy mayor and councillor, and also became the youngest-ever mayor in Wales.

But Hurcum has announced they will not stand for re-election to Bangor city council, because they will be temporarily moving away.

Like many young British people, Hurcum said they made several “sadly unsuccessful” attempts to get on the local property ladder. When they were offered the opportunity to renovate a boat and turn it into their home, they couldn’t refuse.

“Whilst it is my full intention to bring this boat up to Bangor and live on it up here, due to the work needed on it – and it’s current location around Norfolk – it might be upwards of a year before I can do that,” Hurcum explained in a Twitter thread.

“It is my feeling that it would be wrong for me to campaign to be a local representative when I know I will be away from Bangor for such a length of time at the start of the next term,” they continued. “I look forward immensely to completing the rest of this term here in Bangor.

“I hope also one day I might be so humbled to once again serve my community here, but it won’t be during this next council term.”

Hurcum added that their decision was “not a reflection on Bangor city council, nor my time as a councillor and it certainly isn’t to do with the harassment I have been subjected to (by small but vocal minority) on occasion”.

The mayor, who is genderqueer and agender, has previously spoken out about the torrent of abuse they’ve received since being elected.

“It has been difficult and it does get disheartening but strangely, not that it is ever OK, I have almost become used to it in a way,” Hurcum told BBC Wales.

Owen Hurcum was the first non-binary candidate for Plaid Cymru in the May 2021 Welsh Parliament elections, but stood down after accusing the party of “[continuing] to platform those who promote transphobia”.

Local elections across Britain will take place on 5 May.

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