Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen formally announced today that she will not be running for re-election in 2018.
The Florida lawmaker, who has a transgender son, is a rare member of the GOP who is pro-LGBTI equality and pubic about it.
Ros-Lehtinen did not vote for Donald Trump for president last year and has disagreed with him not only on transgender rights but also on deportations and budget cuts.
The Trump administration earlier this year rescinded federal guidelines designed to protect transgender students in school.
But she says Trump is not the reason she is leaving the US House of Representatives next year.
‘I’ve served under all kinds of different dynamics in all these years that I’ve been in office here,’ Ros-Lehtinen tells The Miami Herald.
‘Though I don’t agree with many, if not most, positions of President Trump.’
Last year on behalf of LGBT-rights group SAVE, Ros-Lehtinen and husband Dexter Lehtinen introduced an English- and Spanish-language public service campaign in support of son Rodrigo, who came out as transgender about eight years ago while a student at Brown University.
‘Family is everything,’ Ros-Lehtinen said in the video. ‘Our son is transgender. We loved him as Amanda, and now as Rodrigo. … At first, we had a lot of questions, but as parents we love and support our children.’
She also said in the video: ‘Every transgender person is part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and protected from discrimination. Family is about acceptance and love.’
The 64 year old is the first Cuban American to ever be elected to the US Congress. She was first elected to Congress in 1989 after seven years in the Florida Legislature.