The race for mayor of the small town of
Nampa, Idaho includes a transgender candidate, the AP reported.
Charles Edward Staelens' life as a
Republican and owner of a construction company altered dramatically
when he decided to divorce his fourth wife of 17 years and undergo a
sex-change operation at the University of Michigan ten years ago.
Melissa Sue Robinson was born.
“I'm finally the woman I was always
meant to be,” Robinson said in 2003 when she was campaigning in
Michigan for state representative.
“I always thought of myself as a
woman, even as a youngster. … I kept thinking of myself as a woman
and would pretend my wife was the man. I could only bring myself to
have sex with any of my wives about once a month,” she said.
Robinson is now celibate, working for a
telecommunications company in Idaho and a Democrat.
She has run for public office in
Michigan three times – as a state representative, a state senator,
and mayor of Lansing – but has never been elected. A run at a
Seattle school board seat was Robinson's latest attempt at public
In Idaho, her ex-wife, Linda, is
serving as campaign treasurer.
In 2006, Robinson successfully lobbied
Lansing leaders to adopt an ordinance that made it illegal to
discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the
Nampa is a farming and manufacturing
town of 83,000 residents situated near the Oregon border in the
Republican stronghold county of Canyon.
Robinson, 58, is challenging Tom Dale,
a two-term Republican incumbent and former teacher.
“You and I both know Nampa's
conservative,” Robinson told the Idaho Press. “I'm going
to have a hard road to travel. But I won't be able to make that
assessment [of how well I can do] until I get out in the field and
get the reaction of the people.”