Transgender Politician Sued for "Fraud" by Losing Opponent

News & Politics
This post, written by Cara, originally appeared on Feministe

So this is utterly repulsive: City Councilperson Michelle Bruce is being sued for fraud by her failed opponent. Why? Because Bruce is a transgender woman.
Four years after she won a City Council seat, making her what is believed to be Georgia's first transgender politician, Michelle Bruce is battling a lawsuit by an unsuccessful opponent who claims she misled voters by running as a woman.
Michelle Bruce, a transgender member of the Riverdale, Ga, City Council, is being sued by a woman she beat in an election.
Ms. Bruce, a tall woman with shoulder-length graying hair, said she has always identified herself as transgender.
"I've always been Michelle," she said. "If someone has a problem with that, I can't help them. It's a personal issue."
Ms. Bruce, 46, who runs an auto repossession business, began her political campaign in 2003. Running unopposed, she landed one of four Council seats and promised to attract more jobs and residents to Riverdale, a town of 12,000 about 12 miles south of Atlanta, lined with rundown strip malls and used car shops.
Three rivals ran against her in the Nov. 6 election. She captured 312 votes, not enough to avoid a Dec. 4 runoff against the second-place finisher, Wayne Hall, who earned 202 votes.
The third-place finisher, Georgia Fuller, who collected 171 votes, filed a lawsuit claiming election fraud.
The complaint, identifying Ms. Bruce as "Michael Bruce," says she misled voters by identifying herself as female. It asks a judge to rule the November election results invalid and order another general election.
Ms. Fuller did not return calls seeking comment, but her lawyer said voters in Riverdale tended to favor female candidates, particularly if they were incumbents.
"It gives her an unfair advantage," said the lawyer, Michael King. "It's not just sour grapes. The people need to know whether the election is fair."
You know, I'm already not feeling very well today. But I can confidently say that yes, this is the cause of the nausea I'm currently experiencing.

Of course, I can't say that I'm surprised by the open and hostile transphobia. But that should never minimize our collective disgust over the matter. Claiming that one's full history of gender statuses is important to an election is ridiculous. It's also blatantly prejudiced in that it 1. suggests that Bruce is not a "real" woman and that her gender is somehow open for discussion, and 2. suggests that it is somehow Bruce's fault that our culture automatically assumes every person to be cissexual unless told otherwise. And referring to Bruce by a male name, I hope we can all recognize by now, is also purposely disrespectful and offensive.

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