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First Lady? Try ‘First Partner:’ Why the Wife of California’s New Governor Is Eschewing the Traditional Title

January 10, 2019, 9:57 AM UTC

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife, will be eschewing the “first lady” title as their family enters the governor’s mansion.

The documentary filmmaker announced this week that instead of the traditional title, she will go by the title of “first partner” in an effort to advance gender equality.

Siebel Newsom has made two films on gender roles, Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In. The first film, released in 2011, looks at the representation of women in the media, while the second, released in 2015, examines the flip side of toxic masculinity.

She reflected the title choice in a change to her Twitter bio. The California governor’s website also refers to her as the first partner, highlighting her filmmaking work and her role as founder of The Representation Project, which “inspires individuals and communities to challenge limiting gender stereotypes and shift norms.”

As mayor of San Francisco years ago, Siebel Newsom’s husband similarly made waves in his work to advance equality, issuing the country’s first same-sex marriage licenses for nearly a month in 2004.