Sophia Hawes-Tingey appeared to safely advance to the Nov. 7 final election, and one step closer to making history in the small Utah town of Midvale, as the first possible transgender Mayor in conservative Utah.
She was running second among five hopefuls and appearing safe to advance with 24 percent of the vote. Hawes-Tingey trailed a former city council member of the town, who had 30 percent of the vote.
Despite recent tweets to call for a ban on transgender military personnel, Sophia is a US Navy Veteran, who has served her country proudly and desires to continue to do so as Mayor of Midvale, Utah. She’s a software engineer with a passion for advancing diversity and combating discrimination in all forms.
Sophia Hawes-Tingey acknowledges the historic nature of her campaign for city council, but she does not want to make it the focus of her race in this Salt Lake City suburb.
“I see myself mostly as a community servant who just happens to be transgender,” she told her local Fox News affiliate after she filed to run for Midvale’s City Council District 2.
If elected, Hawes-Tingey would be the first openly-transgender person to serve in public office in the state of Utah. Her race does bring increased visibility to Utah’s LGBT community, which has seen big advances within the past couple of years when it comes to same-sex marriage, non-discrimination in housing and employment and several openly gay candidates seeking political office.
When asked about the significance of her candidacy, Hawes-Tingey said she wants to talk to voters about fighting crime, improving neglected neighborhoods and fostering economic growth in Midvale.
“I know to the LGBT community, they see this as a message of hope. But this is a race about community values,” she said.
Hawes-Tingey said being transgender “is only one aspect of who I am.” She pointed to her service on the Midvale Community Council.
“I’m also a software engineer. I’m a Navy veteran, I’ve studied dance for a number of years,” she said. “I don’t define myself only on my gender identity.”
Still, her campaign has attracted the attention of national gay rights groups. She has the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Restore Our Humanity and the Utah Stonewall Democrats.
Hawes-Tingey is challenging incumbent Midvale City Councilman Paul Glover, who is seeking his fourth term in office.
Utah, the home of the staunch conservative Mormon church, has been going through a progressive transition in recent years, with several LGBT politicians, and more vocal advocates. While the town of Midvale is not known for diversity, it is one of the fastest growing suburbs of Salt Lake City, growing 17% since the 2010 census, with an average median income of nearly 54,000 per household. With it’s progressive growth, and the willingness to embrace possibly the first transgender politician in Utah, this could be the first light of progressive change taking root in Utah.
Currently 7,000 has been raised in support of Hawes-Tingey’s campaign. We’re asking our Friends of TMP to share her story and urge those in your immediate community to give in order to empower transgender politicians, who maybe our only way to fight the fascism we face.