January 14, 2016 at 11:43 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Transgender woman sworn into Venezuelan National Assembly

Tamara Adrián, Venezuelan National Assembly, gay news, Washington Blade

Tamara Adrián on Jan. 14, 2016, was sworn into the Venezuelan National Assembly. (Photo courtesy of Tamara Adrián)

The first openly transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly was officially sworn in on Thursday.

Tamara Adrián, a lawyer from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas who is a member of Popular Will, a left-leaning party that supports LGBT-specific issues, posted a picture to her Twitter page that shows her and other assemblymembers being sworn in.

“Proud of my swearing in today in this important National Assembly session that is about human rights and quality education,” wrote Adrián.

Adrián on Dec. 6 won a seat in the National Assembly.

She described herself as an “alternate deputy” during a post-election interview with the Washington Blade from Caracas.

Adrián said she has the same rights and duties as a assemblymember. She told the Blade that she is able to vote if he or she is not present.

“I am somehow the inspiration for many people who thought it was not possible to become involved in mainstream politics,” Adrián told the Blade.

Adrián is among the handful of openly trans people who hold elected office in Latin America.

Luisa Revilla Urcia in 2014 became the first out trans person elected in Peru when she won a seat on a local council in La Esperanza in the province of Trujillo. Voters in Uruguay in the same year elected Michelle Suárez as an alternate senator.

Adela Hernández in 2012 became the first openly trans person to hold public office in Cuba when she joined the Caibarién Municipal Council in the province of Villa Clara. Tatiana Piñeros in the same year was appointed to run the Colombian capital of Bogotá’s social welfare agency.

Adrián elected against backdrop of economic crisis

President Nicolás Maduro’s ruling party lost its majority in the National Assembly in last month’s elections that took place against the backdrop of a worsening economic crisis and political instability.

“People are standing in line for hours — eight, nine hours in order to buy a chicken or to buy some meat,” Adrían told the Blade last August after Popular Will tapped her to run. “It’s a very difficult environment from an economic point of view and it has to be addressed from the Parliament.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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