Appointed Anna official comes out as transgender

Published: Mar. 7, 2017 at 6:18 PM CST
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ANNA, Texas (KXII) -- A planning and zoning commissioner in Anna announced Monday that she's transgender.

Janine Johnson first came out as transgender in 2004. The 69-year-old says she knew at a young age she wasn't meant to be a man.

"We do not decide," Janine Johnson said. "It's something we are born with and have to deal with our entire lives."

Johnson moved to Anna in 2011 and joined the planning and zoning commission four years ago, but always attended meetings as a man.

That's why Monday night she handed out a paper telling the commission, council and city that she was transgender.

"I think the city can really benefit from having this come out," Johnson said. "If they are accepting of me they are going to get the reputation of an open and accepting city."

She says with the introduction of Senate Bill 6, better known as the bathroom bill, she had to speak up and be a role model. The proposal would require people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates.

"I see this bathroom bill as being nothing more than hateful bigotry," Johnson told News 12.

Johnson says she was also inspired to come out by Jess Herbst. She's mayor in New Hope, a few miles south of Anna, who announced in February she was transgender.

Johnson's announcement has come with mix reactions.

"I feel like there's a difference between your work place and personal life," said one Anna resident who didn't want to be identified. "That's something he should have kept in his personal life."

Anna resident Al Evans said, "if that's something he or she wanted to do I think he or she should make it known."

Johnson says she hopes the city accepts her honesty and supports her.

"If it turns out that this is a disruption to the commission then they won't have to fire me," Johnson said. "I'll leave on my own."