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Two transgender women won seats in Germanys parliament - part of a small but growing group around world


Two transgender women were elected to Germanys parliament on Sunday, the first openly trans candidates in the country to become national lawmakers.

Both are members of the Green Party, which came in third in the election: Nyke Slawik, 27, of North-Rhine Westphalia state, and Tessa Ganserer, 44, of Nuremberg.

"It is a historic victory for the Greens, but also for the trans-emancipatory movement and for the entire queer community," Ganserer told the Reuters news agency.

The number of transgender people holding political office is growing around the world - though it remains rare, especially at the highest levels of government.

In the United States, the 2020 elections brought the total number of transgender elected officials from 28 to 32, according to NPR. Forty-two elected officials - mostly at the local level, with eight in state legislatures - openly identify as transgender, according to the Victory Institute, an organization that seeks to elevate openly LGBTQ leaders.

President Biden also tapped Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health, making her the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.

In Brazil - considered one of the most dangerous nations for LGBTQ people - more than 50 transgender candidates ran for state or federal office in 2018, according to the Associated Press. At the local level, the numbers are even greater: In 2020, 281 trans candidates ran for local offices in Brazil - up from 89 in 2016. A total of 30 transgender people won across the country, according to the Columbia Political Review.

In Uruguay, Michelle Suárez Bértora, a lawyer who played a key role in drafting the country's same-sex marriage bill, became the nation's first trans senator in 2014. In Venezuela, Tamara Adrián, a lawyer and activist, was elected to the National Assembly in 2015. And Brazil's Erica Malunguinho was elected to São Paulo state's legislature in 2018.

In Mexico, political parties have been required to nominate equal numbers of men and women since a 2019 constitutional reform mandated "parity in everything." Newer rules also require the nomination of candidates from vulnerable groups, including the LGBTQ community.

In Asia, transgender political representation is similarly rare and largely local. There have been several openly transgender mayors in India, parliament members in Thailand and council members in Japan. In the mostly Roman Catholic Philippines, Geraldine Roman, an outspoken member of the transgender community, was elected to Congress in 2016. Roman has advocated for a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposal has languished in Congress for more than two decades.

In Europe, Slawik and Ganserer are part of a small group of trans leaders on the national level.

Europe's first openly transgender member of parliament was Italy's Vladimir Luxuria in 2006. Last year, Petra de Sutter was appointed Belgium's deputy prime minister, making her the first openly transgender minister in Europe. Katrin Hugendubel, advocacy director for the LGBTQ rights organization ILGA-Europe, wrote in Politico that the lack of media frenzy around de Sutter's appointment was a "sign of progress."

During the campaign season, Ganserer and Slawik highlighted proposals calling for broader equality and LGBTQ rights - including an easier procedure for self-identifying as transgender without a medical certificate and a nationwide plan against trans-hostility and homophobia.

Published : September 29, 2021