Latin American trans-politicians are gaining ground in a dangerous area

Erika Hilton, who became the first transgender person elected by the city of Sao Paulo, talks to an assistant in her office after an interview, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 25, 2022. Photo taken February 25, 2022. REUTERS / Alexandre Meneghini

March 9, 2022

by Carolina Pulice

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – When Erika Hilton decided to run for office in the largest city in Latin America in 2020, she had no idea she would get more votes than any other female candidate to win a city council seat in Brazil that year.

Since then, the buzz around the 29-year-old transgender has only grown. Hilton has seen strong support from artists and left-wing politicians, appearing on the covers of Brazilian magazines. In October, it was recognized as one of the most influential people of African descent, a United Nations-recognized award that recognizes the achievements of Africans and their foreigners.

Hilton told Reuters she now plans to run for federal government in the October elections in Brazil for left-wing socialism and the Liberal Party. If elected, she would be the first transgender member of parliament in Brazil, the deadliest country for trans people in the world, according to Transgender Europe (TGEU) https://transrespect.org/en/map/trans-murder-monitoring/? Submap = tmm_2021, a network of NGOs fighting for transgender rights worldwide.

The number of murders and suicides among transgender Brazilians has increased in recent years, but Jair Bolsonaro, the president of the far right, has attacked what he calls “gender ideology” among those pushing for more protection for trans people.

“There is a need to shake up Brazil with human rights issues, LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay, intersex, asexual) for these bodies and these voices,” Hilton said in an interview.

From his city council seat, Hilton has proposed tax breaks for companies that hire more trans workers. She has also pushed for the expansion of the city’s Trans Citizenship Program, which aims to help vulnerable trans people.

Although Hilton is a pioneer in Brazil, she is not alone in Latin America, where a new generation of transpolitics is working to combat transgender violence and prejudice.

In Chile, 25-year-old transgender lawmaker Emilia Schneider won a seat on the federal legislature in November after years of action.

Schneider said the left-wing Socialist Socialist president Gabriel Boric was also inspired by a new constitution with a greater emphasis on human rights and trans people protection.

“I am very hopeful and confident that this government and the new constitution will represent a new horizon of rights and recognition for the people of Chile and for sexual diversity,” she said in an interview.

“We have conquered institutional space, in parliament, in (elected president) government, and it is a profound transformation, it will change the culture of society,” Schneider said. She pointed out that Boric’s cabinet includes openly gay education minister Mario Antonio Avila and lesbian sports minister Alexandra Benado.

Across Latin America, political progress toward the promotion of trans rights has been mixed.

At least 189 trans people were killed last year in the area, more than any other, according to the TGEU, which warned that the true number could be higher due to non-reporting.

In Mexico, the world’s second deadliest country for transgender people, Maria Clemente Garcia Moreno, a 36-year-old federal lawmaker with the ruling Morena party, said she had difficulty explaining the challenges facing transgender people in the Mexican parliament, even for those who understand and respect their own transgender people. self image.

“This responsibility to translate the needs of trans people to be able to establish it in a political framework to protect our rights – it is complex,” she said.

In Venezuela, the fight for trans rights often recedes into broader political, social and economic issues, said Tamara Adrian, a transgender lawyer, researcher and federal legislator elected in 2015.

Students, for example, are often forced to hide their changed identity, she said.

Otherwise, “they need to drop out of school or not show up or show up as trans people in places like universities,” she said.

For Hilton, who also leads a commission investigating transgender crimes in Sao Paulo, physical violence is just the tip of the iceberg, adding trans rights must be part of social policy.

“What is stolen from us is precisely the right to be recognized as human beings. And when we are recognized, we must have all human rights, “she said.

(Report by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Latin American trans-politicians are gaining ground in a dangerous area

Source link Latin American trans-politicians are gaining ground in a dangerous area

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