Transgender candidate Adam Spickler makes history in California

Transgender Adam Spickler

Adam Spickler, right, with his husband, Scott Johnson, and their dogs, Penny, and Jack, made history this month as the first transgender man to hold public office in California. Photo: J Guevara.

Santa Cruz County resident Adam Spickler made history earlier this month as the first transgender man to hold public office in California.

Spickler, 48, won without anyone casting a vote.


Spickler filed to run for a community college trusted seat, but when nobody filed to run against him, he went from uncontested candidate to appointed in lieu of an election.

On August 15, Spickler was appointed a trustee elect to the seven-member Cabrillo Community College Governing Board. He will be sworn in December 3.

“I feel like the message that gets sent is, regardless of our identity, and because of our identity, we are still people trying to take on meaningful roles in communities just like everybody else,” Spickler, a Santa Cruz County analyst and administrator, told Q Voice News. “Don’t be colorblind to our differences. Don’t just simply celebrate our differences, but recognize we all have something to give and we can celebrate what’s special about each other.”

Spickler replaced Trustee Gary Reece, who didn’t run for re-election and had held the position more than two decades.


Two transgender women have won elected office in California.

In 2010, Judge Victoria Kolakowski won a seat on the Alameda County Superior Court and was unopposed in 2016 for another six-year term.

In November, Lisa Middleton made history when she won a seat on the Palm Springs City Council.


Spickler’s political background includes working as a field representative for former Assemblyman John Laird, who, in 1983, while serving on the Santa Cruz City Council, became one of the first openly gay mayors in the nation.

Spickler also worked with State Sen. Bill Monning.

Spickler transitioned during his years working for Monning.

“It was far better than I think a lot of people would anticipate,” Spickler told Q Voice News of his transition period. “It’s such a very personal thing to do. It took me a while to realize that about myself, but once I did, once I knew I needed to take both medical and physical steps, I spoke with Bill immediately, and he was nothing but supportive.”

Monning wrote a letter on behalf of Spickler stating his full support of Spickler’s transition.

“I did not get a lick of negative feedback from anybody,” Spickler said.


As a trustee, Spickler wants equal access to an affordable college education and to strengthen college diversity and advocate for state funding, according to his official website.

Prior to Spickler’s win, voters have ushered in a wave of historic political wins for transgender candidates, including Virginia’s Danica Roem, the first transgender person to serve on a state legislature, and, Christine Hallquist, the first transgender person in the nation to win the gubernatorial nomination for a major political party.

About the author

Lauren Torres

Lauren Torres is a journalist who has watched enough "Investigation Discovery" to be obsessed with chasing investigations through writing for the rest of her life. When not chasing investigations or aliens, Torres writes non fiction, collects anything Spider-Man related, and eats copious amounts of Hot Cheetos while watching "The Office."

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