An example ? A heroine ? No thanks. Estelle Szabo, unlabeled mayor of Estevelles (Pas-de-Calais), does not wish to carry the banner of gender transition. “I refuse to have a militant role. I won’t carry the rainbow flag, she says in her soft voice, in her office. I don’t want to mix. I prefer to engage in politics. » His message is almost banal: “We can carry differences and assume political functions. Transidentity is one difference among others. »
That the mayor becomes madam mayor in full mandate is however a first in French political history. Because Marie Cau, the other transgender mayor in France (in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, in the North), had stood for election after her transition. The official announcement in mid-April caused a media tsunami. Estelle Szabo, born Alain, knew that her decision would not leave anyone indifferent. At 63, at the head of this town in the mining basin since 2016, she thought for a long time before assuming her life as a woman in broad daylight.
This day at the end of April, dressed in a pale pink trouser suit, she does not wish to pour out her private life, announcing it to her wife and her four daughters… One thing is certain: she had never more choice. “I had to assume my political functions as a man and I lived the rest of my life as a woman. One day, my shrink said to me: “How do you do it?” “I dress up as a man,” I replied. So he warned me: “Be careful, at some point, you have to stall.” »
“To resign was to flee”
In 2022, she first thinks of resigning and moving to live her transition away from her constituents. But its majority is not ready. “A lot of people said to me, ‘Why would you leave?’ » The mayor therefore postpones her departure, while continuing to hesitate. The municipal council then had nine men and ten women. Through her transition, Estelle Szabo would break parity. But the sub-prefect Jean-François Raffy reassures her: “I don’t see what could prevent you from maintaining yourselves. » So, it’s decided: she will remain mayor. “To resign was to flee”, she now justifies.
On April 12, when she was not required to do so, she requested the approval of the municipal council, which voted for a motion of support. “The ecologists, in the opposition, did not vote against, notes the mayor. They would have shot themselves in the foot, their national executive includes a transgender woman, Hélène Hardy. I would have used the argument thoroughly. We do politics, anyway… ” Estelle Szabo distributes a letter to the inhabitants. “It’s hard for people to understand, does she recognize. So there needs to be an argument. Otherwise, we fall into the reverse of clichés, La Cage aux Folles… » On Thursday, the municipal agents are informed. ” On Friday, my career as mayor kicked off. »
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Source: Le Monde