Rasmussen, longtime manager of the local cinema, was also elected mayor in 1988 and 1990, and served four years — but that was when he was wearing slacks and sport shirts to council meetings. The new Rasmussen — who got breast implants a few years ago and began calling himself Carla Fong — wears skirts, lipstick and high heels.
Earlier this month, Rasmussen became America's first openly transgender mayor. His constituents say they elected him not for his looks, but because he promised to put a halt to the rapid development that has threatened Silverton's small-town charm.
"My first two terms, I was a very straight-looking guy," said Rasmussen, 60, a software engineer who has written on transgender issues. "Now, I write under the name Carla Fong, but basically I'm Stu in Silverton. Honestly, it would be too much trouble to retrain the whole town."
Rasmussen walks down Silverton's Norman Rockwell-like main street in a plunging purple top revealing impressive cleavage, with a tight black miniskirt, flowing red locks and dagger-like red nails.
He is stopped every few feet by people who want to shake his hand and congratulate him on his victory, in which he took 52% of the vote against 39% for incumbent Mayor Ken Hector in the nonpartisan election. …
"I like to say we're 40 miles and 40 years from Portland. Here's a place you dial the wrong number and you get in a conversation anyhow," Rasmussen says.
Silverton appears to have come to terms long ago with Rasmussen's nebulous gender, which he describes as "25%, maybe 30% between" man and woman, and his "adoption of the twins," as the mayor-elect refers to his breast surgery. But he still manages to catch some people off guard.
"Guys come up to me in the bar and say, 'Hate to tell you this, but I saw this woman on the street the other day, and I'm thinking, great legs, nice tan, and she turns around and I go, 'Oh, my God, it's Stu!' " Rasmussen recounts in the deep voice that seems always softened with a trace of humor….