In Mexico, Transgender Politicians Making Progress LGBT Community Congress Society Mexico Brazil


Salma Luévano was arrested for publicly identifying herself as transgender in the province of Mexico in 1985. She is now about to take office as a member of Congress.

It’s been a long journey, but one that seems to shatter the rigid definitions of the genre that have long prevailed in Mexico. Luévano is one of two transgender federal lawmakers elected to the lower house in the country’s June 6 elections.

Luévano plans to lead a campaign to have gender equality enshrined in the constitution and nationally recognize same-sex marriage and gender identity.

Luévano, hairdresser candidate for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party, has no illusions about the difficulty of the task.

“The fact that I was able to make it here doesn’t mean they are going to roll out the red carpet for me, and it’s all worked out,” Luévano said in an interview this week.

López Obrador himself is socially conservative and has not insisted on gender issues.

“What comes next is the struggle to try to convince 500 colleagues, but it is not impossible,” said Luévano, referring to the number of seats in the lower house.

At the age of 17 in 1985, Luévano was surrounded by a dozen police officers in the central square of the provincial town of Aguascalientes and detained with punches and beatings, accused of being a threat to morals and public mores.

This launched Luévano in a three-decade struggle for equality, alongside María Clemente García, the other transgender person elected to Congress this year.

One of their first efforts will be to get the national statistics institute to conduct a census of LGBT people.

More than 100 candidates from the LGBT community ran in the June 6 elections, and more than 20 of them were transgender.

But on the other hand, 79 people from the LGBT community were murdered in 2020, including 43 transgender people, according to activist group Letra S. This is a drop of about a third from 2019, which could be associated with the coronavirus. pandemic.

But Mexico still ranks second in the world for murders of homosexual and transgender people between 2008 and 2020, behind Brazil, according to a study by Transgender Europe and the academic journal Liminalis.

Same-sex marriage is recognized in 20 of Mexico’s 32 states and only 13 have laws recognizing self-identified sex.

“Society needs to turn its attention to us because it’s not fair that we are killed,” said Luévano, who identifies as a woman.

Rocío Suarez, a member of the Support Center for Trans Identities activist group, said the two lawmakers faced a tough battle.

“He is going to face a lot of inertia, but we hope that their ability to start a dialogue in Congress will allow them to reach agreements and consensus,” Suarez said. “They are our hope.

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