"I'm a transgender. I've just accepted that," Murphy told the Rapid City Journal Monday. "All my life I have done a good job of hiding it."
The gay-themed PlanetOut.com Web site said Murphy is likely the first openly transgender politician in the United States and the first to begin the sex change process while holding office. A member of the non-partisan city council since 2000, Murphy said he would not seek re-election when his current term expires in 2005.
"Tom Murphy is incredibly brave," Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality said. "Current public officials will see this and watch what happens, and make the decision about themselves and whether they can come out."
Others, she continued, may follow in his footsteps.