Diane Rodriguez could become South America’s first trans legislator

If elected, the 30 year-old LGBT rights activist and psychology student could become the first transgender individual in Ecuador's Congress, and South America's first trans lawmaker

Diane Rodriguez could become South America’s first trans legislator
07 February 2013

Ecuador could receive its first transgender lawmaker this month.

Diane Rodriguez, a psychology student and trans rights activist in her home town of Guayaquil, is vying for a Congressional seat in the leftist Ruptura 25 party during the presidential and parliamentary elections held on 17 February (Sunday).

If elected, it is believed Rodriguez would be the first transgender individual to hold public office in Ecuador, where 85% of the population identifies as Catholic. It is thought she would also be the first openly transgender lawmaker in South America.

Valentina Verbal, a transgender candidate in Chile’s upcoming November elections, could also potentially be South America’s first transgender legislator if Rodriguez is not elected.

‘My focus will be on all minorities, vulnerable ethnic groups and feminist causes,’ Rodriguez said in an interview with AFP.

She added that she would also push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ecuador – an issue President Rafael Correa has spoken out against. Currently there is one openly lesbian minister in his cabinet.

Guillermo Lasso, Correa’s main rival, has also spoken out against gay marriage, but said he supports civil unions between same-sex couples who wish to share their property.

In 1998 Ecuador’s constitution was ratified to punish all forms of discrimination, including sexual orientation. Rodriguez has pledged to push these protections further for the LGBT community.

As director of X Silhouette Association, a trans rights group in Guayaquil, Rodriguez has been an outspoken activist for some time.

She was born Luis Benedicto. After coming out to her parents, she was kicked out and survived as a prostitute until she was allowed to return home. Rogriguez won a landmark case in 2009 that granted her a new ID card that replaced her male birth name, but not her gender.

Rodriguez will appear on the ballot under her male name. Run-off elections, if necessary, will take place 7 April. 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Pro-gay Europe politicians furious over approval of visas for Ukraine

Ukraine's proposal of homophobic draft laws has caused MEPs to urge EU to refuse easier travel visas to its citizens
No thumbnail available

How to spot homophobic laws coming to a state near you

With a rise in legislation in several US states proposing a crackdown on anti-gay discrimination, this handy video shows you how to spot the beast of homophobia when it rears its ugly head
No thumbnail available

Gay teen banned from bringing male date to prom

Missouri teen is not allowed to bring his date as the county handbook states 'boys can only invite girls'
No thumbnail available

A milestone for international gay sport - TIP turns 10!

One of the world’s foremost LGBT multi-sport events will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2013
No thumbnail available

Gay Games champion wins fifth world gold medal

British Chris Morgan achieves his latest world powerlifting champion title
No thumbnail available

Fifth male priest accuses Cardinal O’Brien of ‘inappropriate acts’

As the leader of the Scottish Roman Catholic Church resigns, another priest has stepped forward to accuse the cardinal
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage will be argued about in the upcoming US election

Buzzfeed points to 6 reasons why gay marriage will be talked about during this US presidential election
No thumbnail available

Australian swimming champion Ian Thorpe quizzed over gay rumors

In an interview with British journalist Michael Parkinson, Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe is asked whether he has lied about being gay
No thumbnail available

New Zealand legalizes gay marriage

First country in the Asia-Pacific passes marriage equality law by 77 votes to 44.
No thumbnail available

Meet Spandex: The all-gay superhero team

New all-gay superhero team do battle with 50-foot lesbians in British seaside city of Brighton