Sepi Shyne is West Hollywood’s 1st LGBTQ Iranian mayor

Sepi Shyne West Hollywood Mayor

Sepi Shyne was sworn in as mayor of West Hollywood Monday night. She made history as the city’s first woman of color, Iranian American, and LGBTQ Iranian to be mayor. Photo: City of West Hollywood

Sepi Shyne made history again this week when she became West Hollywood mayor.

It was the first time in the city’s 38-year history that a woman of color, Iranian American, and LGBTQ Iranian was chosen for the position.

Being mayor in West Hollywood is a rotating position selected annually by council members. The job is largely ceremonial.

Shyne, who identifies as a lesbian, was elected to the council in November 2020.

“I ran for office because West Hollywood had lost its purpose along the way and needed a new dream,” Shyne said Monday night during her opening remarks as mayor. “A dream that represented and elevated more of us. A dream that included those who had been forgotten. Those that didn’t feel included. Those whose voices were not being heard anymore.

“A dream that included a brighter and more inclusive West Hollywood,” she said. “One where the sun would shine on all of us, and just some of us.”

Shyne also is the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected to public office anywhere in the world.

Sepi Shyne, Iranian-American lesbian, explains what Pride means to her

During the council’s reorganization and installation meeting, Shyne was sworn in by Lindsey P. Horvath, a former West Hollywood mayor and council member who was elected Los Angeles County supervisor for the third district in November.

John M. Erickson, who identifies as gay, was selected and sworn in as mayor pro tempore.

Shyne said her priorities as mayor include improving the lives of people with disabilities, collaborating with Los Angeles County on the city’s behavioral crisis units that work on mental health issues, collaborating with Los Angeles County fire and sheriff’s departments to improve public safety, and having monthly meetings with residents.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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