news

Wales elects world's 'first-ever openly non-binary mayor'

Exclusive: Mayor of Bangor Owen J Hurcum, who identifies as genderqueer and agender, speaks to Attitude about their new role

2021-05-12

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Twitter/@OwenJHurcum

Bangor in Wales has elected an openly non-binary city mayor, in what is believed to be a world first.

At 23, independent candidate Owen J Hurcum - who, according to their Twitter profile, identifies as "genderqueer/agender" - is also Wales' youngest-ever mayor.

The commencement of Hurcham's mayorship was confirmed on the City of Bangor Council's website yesterday. Gwynant Roberts has been elected deputy mayor. 

"I was so worried I'd be ostracized by my community"

In a statement to Attitude, Hurcum said: "It's a huge honour to have been entrusted by my fellow City Council members to represent our Great City as its Mayor. I am part of a fantastic team that will do all it can for Bangor and I'm confident we will deliver for our citizens even in this difficult period.

"I might only be 23 but I have years of experience at some the highest levels of community council work, experience I will put to good use with my own personal flare. Bangor as a city helped me understand my own gender and celebrate the fact I am non-binary. It's a huge privilege to be able to be truly me as I do this role and to hopefully be that little bit of representation for other young non-binary individuals."

Addressing the news on Twitter, Hurcum added: "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 [sic]."

They added: "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 [sic]." 

Hurcum, who is from Harrow outside of London, has lived in Bangor for the last five years. The former archeology student is a graduate of Bangor University. 

The cathedral city in Gwynedd, North Wales, has a population of around 18,000 people.

Hurcum previously told North Wales Live of Bangor: "I came here as a student five years ago, just because it was a place to study and it looked quite nice.

"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."

Read the Attitude Sex & Sexuality issue, out now.

Guarantee your François Sagat or Reno Gold cover in print by subscribing here using either code FRANCOIS or RENO.

Subscribe digitally to the Attitude mobile and tablet edition for just over £1 per issue (limited time only).