Transgendered Oregon Mayor Stu Rasmussen May Soon Get Shot at Reality TV

Transgendered Oregon Mayor Stu Rasmussen May Soon Get Shot at Reality TV

Sure, Stu Rasmussen is the first openly transgendered mayor in the country. And he considers anything less than 3-inch heels to be flats.

But Rasmussen says his life with his long-term girlfriend and seven cats in the quiet little town of Silverton, Ore., is actually "relatively boring." The outside world, however, seems to disagree.

Rasmussen, 60, now in his second stint as mayor but the first spent dressing like a woman, has recently finished filming footage for what could be a new reality television show about small-town life with a transgendered mayor.

Video: Oregon transgender mayor may get reality show.

While he has some trepidation about the maelstrom a hit television show could bring to his small town -- concerns shared by his fellow town officials -- Rasmussen told that he agreed to put his life on display in the hopes of helping others who are struggling with their own gender identity but don't believe they can live outside the closet.

"It's almost my responsibility to the rest of the transgender community to help others understand that we are not freaks and weirdos," he said.

"It took me 50 years to get comfortable in the body I am," he said, adding that, for some, that day never comes -- which can cause distress. "And why? It's just clothes?"

RDF USA, the production company behind such hits as ABC's "Wife Swap" and Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics," confirmed the company had filmed Rasmussen in Silverton last week but declined further comment on what made him an attractive subject for reality television or where they're shopping a potential show.

Rasmussen said he prefers the terms "documentary show" or "serial documentary" to the phrase "reality TV," which he says carries a negative connotation.

"They are talking with a network, but they would not say which network," he said.

Rasmussen made headlines last year when he unseated the incumbent mayor after serving in that capacity from 1988 to 1992, along with terms as a member of the city council in the 1980s and '90s.

But when he ran this time, he did it in heels and short skirts and proved that his dressing as a woman would not interfere with his passion for town politics.

Learning His Limits

While Rasmussen had outwardly served his previous mayoral term as a typical man, he began taking what he called "baby steps" toward outing himself starting in the '90s, including getting manicures and dressing in women's clothing outside the house.

Then, in 2000, figuring his political career was over, he got breast implants, or what he calls "adopting the twins."

He began to show off his now-signature style of high heels and low-cut tops, or what girlfriend Victoria Sage has described as his "va-va-voom" style, he said.

But as he watched Silverton's population rise rapidly (now about 9,500), he felt a call back to office and was elected on a platform of controlled growth to prevent strain on the town's resources. While he may be big news in other parts of the country, he's just "Stu" to his constituents.

"Silverton is so over this," he said.

Unlike many transgendered people, Rasmussen has not made a full commitment to either gender. Instead, his commitment is to what makes him comfortable. He wears women's clothing and has grown his hair long, but he is not considering further surgery and has kept his male name.

"I am not 100 percent male, but I am not nearly 100 percent female," he said, adding that the gender spectrum runs as wide as the difference between short and tall.

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