Jaime Parada has made history by becoming the first openly gay man elected to Chilean municipal government.
Parada was elected as councilman to Providencia, a commune in Chile’s capital city Santiago, with nearly 6% of total votes.
Parada told Gay Star News: ‘This election was symbolic. Chile’s focus was on Providencia, one of the country’s most conservative municipalities.’
The gay councilman is already active in the fight for LGBT rights as the spokesman for Chile’s Movilh (Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation), one of the nation’s leading sexual rights groups.
Parada said: ‘My campaign used a sexual diversity discourse to challenge the mayor of Providencia CristiÃ¡n Labbé, a recognized homophobe. This generated a lot of attention from voters.’
CristiÃ¡n Labbé, a colonel who served under Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, was not re-elected as Providencia’s mayor.
According to Parada: ‘Left-leaning and centrist forces came together to defeat the former dictator sympathizer who served as mayor for 16 years.’
‘My victory is interesting in the third-wealthiest municipality in Chile, because it symbolizes a change in areas that are typically reticent to change.’
In the same municipal elections, Chilean voters also elected two transgender council members to office.
Transgender councilmember Alejandra Gonzalez was re-elected for her third term in Lampa, also in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, and councilmember Zuliana Araya won her bid as councilmember for the coastal province of Valparaiso.
Araya dedicated her victory to homophobic government officials, specifically naming politician Ignacio Urrutia who pushed for the exclusion of homosexuals from serving in the armed forces.