Tony Briffa: my experience as the first openly intersex Mayor

Tony Briffa

Tony Briffa writes on becoming mayor of Hobsons Bay, Victoria.

Tony Briffa has written for the Intersex Day Project on becoming the world’s first openly intersex elected public official.

In 2009 and 2010 I was elected to the position of Deputy Mayor, and in 2011 I was elected Mayor. I am currently an elected Councillor.

This all means that I became the first publicly ‘out’ intersex person elected to office anywhere in the world, but it wasn’t until I was elected Mayor that the world noticed. Suddenly, within a week I had 250,000 independent visitors on my website. I couldn’t keep up with all the media requests and emails of congratulations.

Quite quickly it appeared that I wasn’t just “Mayor Tony Briffa”, but “Intersex Mayor Tony Briffa”. Some newspapers would refer to me as that even when my intersex variation had nothing to do with the story. Often, they would also mention that I was born intersex and am biologically both female and male. Despite focusing on the usual tasks of being a Mayor, being intersex had suddenly morphed to be part of my public identity.

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