A 30-year-old rights activist is vying to become Ecuador’s first transsexual lawmaker. Diane Rodriguez is seeking to fill a vacant congressional seat as a candidate of the leftist Rupture 25 party in the South American country’s February 17 presidential and parliamentary elections. If she succeeds, the psychology student would become the first transsexual to hold public office in this socially conservative nation where 85 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.
“My focus will be on all minorities, vulnerable ethnic groups and feminist causes,” Rodriguez told AFP, adding that she would also push for the legalization of same-sex marriage — an issue President Rafael Correa and his main rival have spoken out against.
Rodriguez is not the first transsexual to seek a legislative seat in Latin America. In Chile, Valentina Verbal, who had a sex change operation four years ago, also is running for a seat in the parliament.