Jess Helene Herbst was born in 1958 in Greenville, Texas to Dr. John R. and Wilma Jean Herbst. She attended East Texas State University, where she met and married Debbie Gray Herbst in 1980. Their daughters, Alexandria and Lauren, were born in 1989 and 1990 and are only 18 months apart.
Herbst was the Vice President of Research at Electro Communications Systems from 1988 to 1997. In 1997, she started Herbst Technical Services, and still works for the company as a technical consultant.
Herbst and her family moved to New Hope, Texas in 1997, and in 2003, became a town Alderman, and served as Road Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem.
During her 7th term as town Alderman, Herbst was appointed to the position of mayor after the passing of her predecessor.
In February 2017, Jess Herbst came out publicly as a Transgender woman, becoming the first openly transgender person to hold an elected office in the State of Texas and the second openly transgender Mayor in the United States.
Mayor Herbst was one of many Texas transgender activist leaders in the effort to stop the anti-trans bathroom legislation in 2017, testifying before the Texas Committees on State Affairs in opposition to the bathroom bills.
Ryan Sallans is a public speaker, consultant, and author specializing in health care,
campus inclusion and workplace issues impacting the transgender community, and the
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community.
Over the past 15 years Ryan, a professionally training sexuality educator, has conducted over a thousand presentations and training sessions to diverse audiences, including professionals, students, employees, and the general public. He is also the Lead Subject Matter Expert and script writer for e-learning courses used around the nation to train healthcare professionals and staff through Affiliate Risk Management Services, Inc. and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
Ryan attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology, Masters of ARts in English, and a Masters of Arts in educational psychology.