California Councilman Who Wears Dresses Faces Recall Amid Controversy of “Predictable Transphobia.” (Video)

Written by Matthew Clarke.

In Calexico, California, a city council member, Raúl Ureña, who has recently embraced wearing dresses and makeup as part of his gender expression, is facing a recall effort. Ureña, elected at the age of 23 and now 26, has shifted from traditional male attire to more flamboyant outfits, coinciding with increasing local concerns over governance.

Rising Tensions in Calexico

The recall effort against Ureña and fellow council member Gilberto Manzanarez stems from accusations of poor leadership as Calexico grapples with rising crime and homelessness. Critics in the voter information guide cite decisions by the council, such as denying essential equipment to police and actions perceived as undermining public trust in government, as key motivators for the recall.

Accusations of Misconduct and Mismanagement

Ureña has also been criticized for his conduct outside of council duties, including alleged public indecency and failing to address key community concerns like park maintenance and downtown safety. The councilman, however, attributes the recall to “predictable transphobia,” suggesting that his gender expression is a significant factor behind the opposition.

Political and Personal Reactions

Despite the challenges, Ureña remains defiant, urging voters to reject what he calls a “dishonest and dangerous” recall attempt. Both he and Manzanarez argue that the recall is politically motivated, aimed at reversing their electoral victories by those dissatisfied with the current administration’s direction. Maritza Hurtado, a former mayor leading the recall, describes the councilmen’s leadership as “disrespectful” and “toxic,” claiming their policies have deterred business and promoted unwelcome activism in the community.

Our Take

The situation in Calexico serves as a reminder of the complexities of local governance where personal identity and political actions intertwine. While it is essential to respect individual rights to gender expression, elected officials must prioritize the needs and safety of their constituents above personal or political agendas. The allegations of mismanagement and neglect in essential city functions, coupled with divisive political stances, suggest a need for a more focused and inclusive approach to leadership that aligns with the community’s core needs and values. This recall could be a pivotal moment for Calexico’s residents to assess the direction of their governance and the impact of identity politics on their city’s progress and unity.


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