Owen Hurcum is only 23 years old and is still a university student. They were elected last year but were sworn into office only earlier this year.
Owen Hurcum was elected by the people of Bangor, Wales to the City Council as their, as well as the world's, first-ever nonbinary and genderqueer mayor. Hurcum is only 23 years old and is believed to also be the youngest mayor Wales has seen, according to BBC. They are still a university student. They were elected unanimously to their post last year but could only be sworn in earlier this week owing to restrictions on account of the pandemic. Before becoming Mayor, they served as deputy mayor for a year. They have been in Bangor for five years now and are a familiar face in the community.
A historic moment! 🎉— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) May 12, 2021
Congratulations to @OwenJHurcum who has just been elected the youngest mayor in Welsh history and the first openly non-binary mayor of any city in the world.https://t.co/hIF6mkJjPS
"I came here as a student five years ago, just because it was a place to study and it looked quite nice," Hurcum told North Wales Live. "Within a week, I fell in love with it and tried to throw myself into the city's culture. The city means a lot to me and I feel so privileged that I have been entrusted to represent my community on a national and international stage." They already have big plans for the city and their first step would be to bring the people of the city together after the tough year that was 2020. They hope to get more grants for developing the city and "continuing the good work of the departing mayor."
When I came out two years ago I was so worried I'd be ostracized by my community or worse. Today my community elected me Mayor of our great City. The youngest ever Mayor in Wales. The first ever openly Non-Binary Mayor of any city anywhere. Beyond humbled, Diolch Bangor 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/pGHiaQTVaO— Mayor Owen J Hurcum 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@OwenJHurcum) May 10, 2021
Speaking to NBC News Hurcum said, "It is an enormous privilege to have been elected by my fellow City Council members to the office of Mayor of Bangor. I don't take this lightly and I will work as hard as I can in the role to give back everything to the City that has given me so much. I might only be 23 but I have a wealth of experience at local government and a fantastic team behind me so I know we are set up to face the challenges ahead." They even ran for Senedd, the Welsh Parliament, but stepped down in March. "I cannot in good conscious stand for a party that continues to platform those who promote transphobia," they said in a statement and called out Senedd member Helen Mary Jones for holding transphobic beliefs.
Today I have resigned my position as a Plaid Cymru candidate in the 2021 Senedd Elections. I cannot in good concious stand for a party that continues to platform those who promote transphobia. My full statement in both English and Cymraeg 👇— Mayor Owen J Hurcum 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@OwenJHurcum) March 3, 2021
But there have also been people who have been supportive. "When I came out two years ago I was so worried I'd be ostracized by my community or worse," Hurcum wrote on Twitter. "Today my community elected me Mayor of our great City. The youngest ever Mayor in Wales." They even attached a photo of them wearing the official mayoral chain. They hope to offer fresh ideas for the betterment of Bangor and deliver them in a new way. "I think sometimes, with experience comes the inability to not want to change things too much, because that's the way it has been done for years," they said.
I just want to say a huge diolch to all the lovely messages that are still coming in. I know representation is not just putting on the chain and Ill be judged by what we do as a team for Bangor during my year in office, but still, Im glad my election has resonated with so many 💜 pic.twitter.com/DNCzQyppDg— Mayor Owen J Hurcum 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@OwenJHurcum) May 11, 2021
Hurcum explained last year, after being elected as mayor, "I'm not blind to the fact that, when there's a new system coming in, especially when the head of that system is a 22-year-old, gender-queer and purple-haired person, people are going to notice that. If that's what will attract people to Bangor and see how great it is, I'm more than happy about that. I think in this system, being a bit different does help. It's never a bad thing." They added, "We've got to celebrate people and their differences, and I want people in the community of Bangor to understand it's OK to be different and that your feelings are valid. But saying that, Bangor is a fairly progressive and kind-hearted city, and I hope I can use my position to celebrate that."
Pleasure to unveil a plaque today celebrating 125 years of our fantastic Pier, definitely worth a visit if you have never been! You can read more about the history of this glorious structure here: https://t.co/x7B6PoUERQ pic.twitter.com/bVQywB9fBS— Mayor Owen J Hurcum 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@OwenJHurcum) May 14, 2021