Hundreds of thousands of politicians run for office and are elected across the globe, but there is one group of people that is shockingly underrepresented.
There are only 20 transgender elected officials currently in office at any level, according to a new report.
The LGBTQ Representation and Rights Research Initiative based at the University of North Carolina found trans officials are close to invisible.
They found, since 1977, only 126 trans and gender variant candidates from 30 countries had run in just over 200 races.
Out of those 126, 48 were elected, and with re-elections they won 72 times.
Andrew Reynolds, a professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, said politics is a ‘crucial piece’ of how change happens in the world.
He said: ‘The presence of transgender people in public office does more than give the community an authentic voice in decision-making.
‘It incorporates trans people into established governance structures and offers role models to inspire future generations.
‘It opens doors for further visibility and representation of transgender people, not just in the formal halls of government, but also in the daily lives and fabric of a society.’
While he posited there may be a number of reasons why trans people are not interested in politics, Reynolds put his finger on the ‘gate-keepers’ of politics – afraid that a trans person couldn’t possibly get the funding or backing to be a leader.
But in a survey released this week by the European Commission, it showed increased voter comfort with the prospect of having a transgender Prime Minister or President in 21 of 28 nations.
Comfort levels reached as high as 77% in Sweden and 66% in the UK and the Netherlands.