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After being elected the mayor of the city of Hobsons Bay, Tony Briffa, an Australian independent councillor, recently became the world's first openly intersex mayor. Briffa won the position after serving two terms as Deputy Mayor since being elected to the city council of Hobsons Bay, a suburb of Melbourne, in 2008. "I am excited about the future of our community and look forward to serving the city with enthusiasm and pride," he says.
Briffa was diagnosed with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) shortly after his birth, resulting in his being born with both male and female physical attributes. Despite the fact that he was genetically male, doctors decided to assign him the female gender, and he lived as "Antoinette" until he was told of his condition years later. He attended a girls college and married his first boyfriend until he decided to come out as intersex; although he uses male pronouns, he currently identifies as neither male nor female.
"I am grateful for the years I lived as a woman and the insight and experiences it gave me," he says. "I am still 'Antoinette' and have now also incorporated and accepted my male ('Anthony' or 'Tony') side. I feel whole."
An LGTBI Health Alliance board member, Gina Wilson, says that Briffa's election will hopefully mark an impending shift in cultural attitudes toward intersex people, calling him "an inspiration and a role model for a whole generation." "We share Tony's hope that his election will break down taboos associated with intersex differences," she says. Yay!!!!