Transgender woman poised to win seat in Ecuador National Assembly

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A psychologist is poised to become the first openly transgender person elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly.

Diane Rodríguez is a member of Movimiento Alianza PAIS, a left-leaning political party that outgoing President Rafael Correa leads.

Rodríguez, 34, cast her ballot in the city of Guayaquil on Sunday during the country’s elections. She and other trans Ecuadorians were able to vote for the first time using identity cards that correspond with their gender identity.

Carlos Vera, a former World Cup referee on whose ticket Rodríguez ran, currently has the third highest amount of votes in Guayas Province in which Guayaquil is located with slightly more than 80 percent of the votes counted.

“I was elected by popular vote,” Rodríguez told the Washington Blade on Monday. “I feel proud.”

Rodríguez would join a handful of other openly trans politicians who have been elected to national governing bodies around the world once the final election results are confirmed.

Geraldine Roman in May 2016 became the first openly LGBT person elected to the Philippine Congress. Tamara Adrián in 2015 became the first openly trans person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly.

Rodríguez unsuccessfully ran for the Ecuadorian National Assembly in 2013.

She is among the seven LGBT activists from Latin America who traveled to the U.S. in 2014 as part of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Rodríguez made headlines last year in Ecuador when her partner Fernando Machado, who is a trans man, had a baby.

“We know her for her constant fight for human rights,” said the Ecuadorian Federation of LGBT Organizations in a video it released on Rodríguez’s election.

Rodríguez told the Blade her election will pave the way for other LGBT and intersex people who may want to run for office in 2019.

“I am not going to be the only popularly elected candidate,” she said.

Ecuador’s National Electoral Counsel on Tuesday said Lenín Moreno, who is Movimiento Alianza PAIS’ presidential candidate, is ahead of Guillermo Lasso of Creando Oportunidades, a center-right party, by a 39.2-28.4 percent margin with 94.5 percent of the votes counted.

Officials said they plan to announce the final election results later this week. A runoff election between Moreno and Lasso is likely to take place on April 2 because neither candidate has at least 50 percent of the vote.

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