The lawyer who is the first openly transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly on Tuesday described her election as “wonderful.”
“I am somehow the inspiration for many people who thought it was not possible to become involved in mainstream politics,” Tamara Adrián told the Washington Blade during an interview from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
Adrián spoke with the Blade two days after her election to the National Assembly.
She ran as a member of Popular Will, a left-leaning party that supports LGBT-specific issues. Adrián is also chair of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s Trans Secretariat.
Adrián will become what she described to the Blade as an “alternate deputy,” which affords her all of the rights and duties that a traditional assemblymember has.
She is able to replace the full assemblymember in his absence at any session, and vote. Adrián could also take his place in case of his resignation or any other reason that he is unable to serve his full term.
State Department applauds election results
Adrián is the second openly trans person elected to a national legislative body in the Americas.
Uruguayan voters last fall elected Michelle Suárez as an alternate senator. Jowelle De Souza, an LGBT rights advocate in Trinidad and Tobago, in September lost her bid to win a seat in the Caribbean country’s Parliament.
Venezuela’s elections took place against the backdrop of an economic crisis in the oil-rich South American nation that has caused chronic shortages of basic goods and growing unrest.
The National Electoral Council as of Tuesday had yet to release the final results, but President Nicolás Maduro’s ruling party lost its majority of seats in the National Assembly.
“We accept the results as they are,” Maduro told his supporters early Monday.
Adrián told the Blade that members of her party “are committed to equality.” She added that she will advocate in support of LGBT Venezuelans from inside the National Assembly.
“I will not neglect any opportunity of [increasing visibility around] the struggle for LGBTI people,” said Adrián. “The main strategy of intolerance is to invisibilize the struggle of LGBTI people and keep it invisible.”
A State Department spokesperson on Tuesday in a statement to the Blade welcomed Adrián’s election.
“Secretary Kerry has affirmed the United States’ commitment to promoting and protecting the human rights of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said the spokesperson, who proceeded to refer to Adrián’s previous comments. “We support the newly elected legislator’s own statement, ‘The ability to do a job, the ability to carry out a profession, has nothing to do with color of skin, religion or sex, with sexual orientation, gender identity, or with a person’s physical abilities.’”
Venezuelan LGBT advocacy groups took to social media to celebrate Adrián’s election.
“We did it,” said Venezuela Equality, a group that supports marriage rights for same-sex couples in the country, in a post to its Twitter page that includes Adrián’s picture.
— SinEtiquetas (@sinetiquetasorg) December 7, 2015