Transgendered Oregon Mayor Stu Rasmussen May Soon Get Shot at Reality TV
Transgendered Oregon Mayor Stu Rasmussen may soon star in reality TV show.
April 13, 2009— -- 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.
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 ABCNews.com 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.