February 11, 2021 at 6:31 pm EST | by Ernesto Valle
Ruby Corado backs transgender Central American Parliament candidate
Alejandra Menjívar Guadrón, left, with Casa Ruby CEO Ruby Corado, in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Feb. 8, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Ernesto Valle)

Editor’s note: The Washington Blade published a Spanish version of this story on Feb. 9.

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Elections for the Central American Parliament, the Legislative Assembly and municipal councils will take place in El Salvador on Feb. 28. Salvadorans on that day are called to make their choices for candidates for 3,200 public offices who will take office on May 1. To position themselves and be considered by the population and get elected, the candidates have not allowed the pandemic to stop their work and launch their campaign platforms.

Such is the case of Alejandra Menjívar Guadrón, a Central American Parliament candidate who on Monday announced her platform and legislative agenda that is comprised of three principles. She says they would benefit the entire region, but primary El Salvador because the Legislative Assembly has either blocked or ignored.

“We are days away from experiencing the electoral process. There is a lot of support from the party and the people, there are even polls from a couple of consulting houses that position my candidacy within the top 20 Central American Parliament candidates,” Menjívar told the Washington Blade. “I was in ninth place 15 days ago, now I am in 11th; I am moving between ninth, 10th and 11th, according to electoral projections.”

“I already consider myself the winner from the fact of registering (as a candidate) and only having my last names appear on the ballot, something that has happened for the first time,” said Menjívar excitedly.

Her candidacy is setting a precedent in the country’s politics because she is the first openly transgender person to run for office. She says she hopes other openly LGBTQ people who run for office in the future will have an easier path.

Menjívar made it clear that she will work under the principles of equality, equity and inclusion. She also said she is committed to real and direct action, to bringing real change to the Central American Parliament. Menjívar further emphasized the population is unaware of the regional legislative body’s work and recognized that even her own party has not made it known, so she has promised to change that if she is elected.

She identified five areas on which she will work after she met with trade unionists, sex workers and the LGBTQ community, among other groups. They include human rights in Central America, integration and the rule of law in the Central American Parliament, migration and security, natural resources and the environment and tourism and economic development of the region.

Casa Ruby CEO Ruby Corado, a trans activist who was born in El Salvador, attended Menjívar’s platform announcement. Corado was recognized for her work in D.C. on behalf of the LGBTQ community and especially trans women.

“For me this is very important, from a global point of view on the issue of transgender rights,” Corado told the Blade. “We need society to recognize us for the contributions and changes we can make.”

Corado was in El Salvador on vacation and she did not hesitate to attend the event to support Menjívar once she found out about it.

“This is a very emotional moment,” said Corado. “I can participate in this historic global moment, despite the fact that I left the country 31 years ago.”

Corado also told the Blade that what is happening in El Salvador should matter to everyone, because trans people around the world are still denied all kinds of opportunities and rights.

“This is a message that says, ‘We are capable,'” said Corado effusively. “I see this as a precedent worldwide, because there may be girls in Africa, Peru, Mexico and they say: I can too.”

“The political party does not matter,” she added. “The fact that there is a political entity that recognizes that the LGBT community is capable and able, that recognizes an identity as is the case of Menjívar is a global step forward for me.”

FLMN Legislative Assembly candidates Nery Granados, Susy Bonilla, Osmín Domínguez, Gustavo Acosta and Idalia Zepada also attended the event to support Menjívar.

Granados on her social media networks praised Menjívar for her “great proposals for the development of the region and our country.” Zepada, for their part, said the party “defends human rights, inclusion, sexual diversity and participation without discrimination.”

Acosta on Twitter also noted he participated in the event, and shared more details about inclusion within the party for which he and Menjívar are running.

“@AlejaMenjívar, the first trans woman who is a @FMLNoficial candidate for the @PARLACEN, joins the 40 municipal government candidates from the LGTBI community. Equality, equity and inclusion,” he wrote.

Menjívar accepts that it will take a lot of work to win on Feb. 28.

She told the Blade that everything will be done to create the conditions to keep in touch with the population and work with allies to advance a common agenda. “At some point, we are going to have to work together with Erick and with colleagues from other parties who believe that issues must be discussed from a human rights perspective,” adds Menjívar, referring Erick Ortiz, an openly gay member of the Nuestro Tiempo party who is running for the Legislative Assembly.

Ernesto Valle is a journalist and activist in San Salvador, El Salvador, who covers LGBT issues.

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