The mayor of a small Texas town outside of Dallas has made history by becoming the first transgender mayor in the state.

Jess (formerly Jeff) Herbst took office as mayor of New Hope, TX eight months ago after the death of the previous mayor Johnny Hamm. Hamm died while seeking reelection, and still won even though he was dead at the time of the election. Herbst, previously serving as an alderman and road commissioner, was selected by the city council to serve as mayor Pro Tem, and then appointed to complete the mayoral term. The city is 40 miles outside of Dallas, has a population of just over 600, and is considered a predominately conservative area.

In an official statement on the city's website, Herbst publicly announced being transgender, having started hormone replacement two years ago,

As your Mayor I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories. I am Transgender. Two years ago, with the support of my wife, daughters and son-in-law,  I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). At the time, I did not imagine I would hold the Mayors position, but here I am.

I know that transgender people are just coming to light in our society, and we have made great strides in the last few years. Celebrities like Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox from the show ‘Orange is the new Black’ and popular shows like ‘Transparent’ , society finally has a chance to see and learn about who we are. It is gender identity not sexual preference that applies to me. I love my wife, and she loves me, we have no intention of change. My daughters have been adamant supporters of me and are proud to tell people their father is transgender.

Mayor Herbst told Huffington Post that the reaction to her announcement has been very positive,

I have received emails congratulating me, calling me brave and even one expressing pride in living in a town with a mayor like me. I never hoped for more than simple tolerance, the outpouring of support is unprecedented.

In her public announcement, Herbst encouraged citizens of New Hope to email her directly, read her story on her website, and attend the monthly Town Council meetings.

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