More than 100 LGBTQ candidates run for election in Mexico: NPR
Fernando Llano / AP
MEXICO CITY – For years, transgender activist Roshell Terranova has marched on the streets and knocked on the doors of the Mexican Congress to publicize the demands of the country’s LGBTQ community. Now, thanks to her efforts and a change in electoral rule, Terranova is running for Congress in a first for Mexico.
Terranova will be one of more than 100 members of Mexico’s LGBTQ community participating in Sunday’s midterm elections that will take up all 500 seats in the lower house of Congress, as well as state and local positions across the country. . This is the largest number of LGBTQ candidates in Mexican history, according to Carla Humphrey, head of the National Electoral Institute.
The likelihood of candidates’ success for some of the more than 20,000 positions up for grabs on Sunday remains unknown, but activists, analysts and members of the LGBTQ community say the number of candidates is a victory. It signals a departure from a story of concealing gender identity to pursue a political career.
The increase in LGBTQ participation follows an order from electoral authorities to political parties to include these candidates on their lists as part of their “affirmative action” efforts, which seek “to generate and open spaces for them. vulnerable groups, ”Humphrey said.
“They need to be made visible, have a voice and be able to influence,” Humphrey said.
Election authorities plan to monitor their progress as they have done with women and other groups who have experienced discrimination and benefited from actions to promote their participation, such as indigenous groups, Afro-Mexicans , people with disabilities and Mexicans living abroad, she said.
Patria Jiménez, another activist and candidate for the local legislature, was in 1997 the first openly gay MP. She said the high level of participation this year is the result of a “social evolution” that LGBTQ activists have gained by protesting in the streets.
Marven, a transgender woman from the state of Oaxaca, is running for a seat in Mexico City’s legislature as a candidate for the small Elige party. “We have walked for many years to be considered,” she said. The name Marven is a combination of her two legal last names, which she had to use on the ballot because she did not legally change her name.
But her ballot will also include her nickname “Lady Tacos de Canasta,” which she earned when a video circulated on social media in 2016 of her selling a specific type of fried and steamed tacos in. a basket during a gay pride parade.
Minority political parties like Citizen Movement, Progressive Social Networks and Democratic Revolution Party registered dozens of LGBTQ candidates, exceeding quotas set by election authorities. The biggest parties have just fulfilled the conditions.
Citizen Movement has the most, including 51 gays, 26 lesbians, 16 transgender candidates and four bisexual women.
From the patio of her home, known as Casa Club Roshell, which has been a cultural center and refuge for members of the LGBTQ community in Mexico City for 17 years, Terranova celebrated the end of her campaign by singing “Cabaret” .
“Before, you couldn’t come out of the closet because you were sentenced to a life of physical, mental, social torture, at work and you were excluded everywhere,” Terranova said.
If she wins the job, Terranova has said she will fight to bring same-sex marriage across the country. Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, but some states still have not passed legislation allowing it. In these cases, the couples were able to go to court to be allowed to marry. Terranova also plans to push legal reforms to allow civil registration of transgender youth and demand “non-discriminatory” medical care.
Ana Labambarri, an analyst at the Mexican Competition Institute, expressed doubts about the influence that winning LGBTQ candidates could have. Based on the institute’s study of women who won seats in local legislative bodies, they still have not been able to access positions that allow them to make important decisions due to structural issues related to a patriarchal system. She said LGBTQ lawmakers would likely face similar hurdles.
Among the people who recently celebrated the end of Terranova’s campaign was Fabiola Del Castillo, a 42-year-old graphic designer whom Terranova helped in her own gender transition four years ago.
Del Castillo said the candidacies of Terranova and others give him hope that the discrimination they face will end.
“I hope this will help end the hatred towards us and that we can go out on the streets or in a restaurant without being discriminated against,” she said.