Phillipe Cunningham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Phillipe Cunningham
Phillipe Cunningham, Minneapolis City Council Member.jpg
Member of the Minneapolis City Council from the 4th Ward
Assumed office
January 8, 2018
Preceded byBarb Johnson[1]
Personal details
BornStreator, Illinois
Political partyMinnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party

Phillipe Cunningham is the city councilperson for Minneapolis Ward 4 and one of the first openly transgender men to be elected to public office in the United States.[2][3][4] In the Minneapolis City Council election, 2017, Cunningham won over 20-year incumbent Barb Johnson by 157 votes.[5][6] Cunningham identifies as black, queer, and trans.[7]

Life and career[edit]

Cunningham was born in Streator, Illinois, where he lived until he was 18.[8] He studied at Mills College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale before transferring to DePaul University[8] where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese studies.[9] He transitioned during his junior year at DePaul,[8] having been inspired by the life and work of Lou Sullivan.[10]

Prior to his election to public office, Cunningham worked as a special education teacher in the South Side of Chicago[5] and for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. He also worked as Senior Policy Aide and Advisor for Education, Youth Success, Racial Equity, and LGBTQ Rights for the Office of the Mayor of Minneapolis.[9]

On November 7, 2017, Cunningham became the second of three openly trans men to be elected to public office in the United States. Jay Irwin was elected to the Ralston School Board in Nebraska the year prior.[11] Tyler Titus was elected to the Erie School Board in Pennsylvania the same year as Cunningham. Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins (both on the Minneapolis City Council) are the first openly trans people of color to be elected to a city council anywhere in the United States.[2]

Campaign and policy[edit]

Cunningham campaigned on a platform of stable, affordable housing for people living in the Northside of Minneapolis.[5] While working for Mayor Betsy Hodges' office, he was an advocate for racial equality, education, and LGBTQ rights.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Phillippe Cunningham Wins Ward 4, Now 2 Transgender Members Of Minneapolis City Council". CBS Minnesota. November 8, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Chris Johnson (November 8, 2017). "Phillipe Cunningham makes history as Minnesota trans male candidate". Washington Blade. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  3. ^ "Phillipe Cunningham Focused On Lifting 'Everybody Up In The Community'". November 9, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  4. ^ Katelyn Burns (December 18, 2017). "Andrea Jenkins on Her Remarkable Year Making and Preserving Trans History". Broadly. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Laura Ellis (December 16, 2017). "Strange Fruit: Black Queer Bodies Are Not For White Consumption". Strange Fruit. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  6. ^ Jon Collins (November 8, 2017). "Transgender candidates win Mpls. City Council seats, make history". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  7. ^ Belz, Adam (February 4, 2017). "Transgender candidates for Mpls. City Council seek a voice at the table". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Andrea Jenkins (September 25, 2015). "Interview with Phillipe Cunningham" (PDF). The Transgender Oral History Project. Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Phillipe Cunningham". LinkedIn. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Cai Thomas (September 22, 2016). "Phillipe Cunningham finds success and respect as a transgender man". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  11. ^ Konnath, Hailey. "Transgender Ralston school board member, a 'policy junkie,' is busy digging into details of district operations". Retrieved 12 March 2018.

External links[edit]