OutPower

From the Floor of Congress: Trans Voices Echo Out – Mexico Edition

This Transgender Day of Visibility, our Global Team participated in historic actions with the transgender community in Mexico City.

Our local partners YAAJ México (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook),  transgender reporter and organizer Laurel Miranda and All Out , gathered over 20 thousand signatures from people around the world showing their solidarity with the transgender community in México. Historically, Mexico is the second deadliest country for transgender people, following Brazil.

During the flag signing, held at the foot of the Monument to the Revolution, we heard from community leaders like Waquel Drullard from AFROntera, who reminds us that we cannot begin to address transphobia without addressing the racism, classism, and imperialism entrenched within it; Shell Josue, who talked about their work providing direct services to those living with HIV and more at Casa de Las Munecas, and the overwhelming need for safe and empowering spaces for transgender people everywhere; and Tania Morales, from Associacion por las Infancias Trans, who shared the groundbreaking progress being made in advancing the rights of transgender youth to access identification that reflect their identities. Other key leaders and advocates were present including  transgender activist and leader Kenya Cuevas, transgender singer/song writer ZEMMOA, and non-binary performer Lepaline, who brought an intersectional focus and life to the proceeding.

In a historic first, this 20-meter flag with signatures from over 20 thousand community members, our families and our allies was brought onto the Congressional floor and draped over an entire section of member desks (by the members themselves). This marked the first time a flag other than the Mexican flag was introduced to the floor during session.

This action was only possible because of the tireless advocacy and effort of Congresswoman Salma Luevano, who was one of the first of two transgender women elected to the Mexican Congress in 2020 with Congresswoman Maria Clemente. Their presence as transgender lawmakers in the halls of Congress is always essential, but on this day was seen, heard and felt across the nation.

Their voices were especially needed as one member of Congress took the opportunity to disparage the medical needs of transgender youth and misgender Congresswoman Luevano on national television.

This member’s reckless rhetoric was widely felt and denounced as hate speech and inciting anti-trans violence. In defense of the transgender community, several allied members of congress took the floor calling for the congressman to be expelled and apologize. In moments like these, there is no substitute for lived representation. Allyship matters and helps, but this member will now face consequences for his bigotry from the very people he attempted to silence.

We further collaborated with our institutional and political allies on the Latin America launch of the Global Equality Caucus. Here,  Director of Global Programs Alhelí Partida moderated a panel on LBT women in politics, and I moderated one on the role of political parties in promoting LGBTQ inclusion and representation. This gathering brought together lawmakers from across our regional network  to discuss the issues plaguing our communities, share the latest strategies and best practices in advancing equality and continue to build a pipeline of future LGBTQ lawmakers.

 

In the words of Congresswoman Luevano, “this is the face of trans resistance, and we will continue to fight until dignity for all becomes customary!” This is why our work is so important, and why we will be working with Yaaj Mexico to host a series of political participation trainings this year in Mexico city, Guadalajara and Yucatan. It’s in this context that we begin planning for our 6th LGBTQ Political Leaders of the Americas and the Caribbean in Mexico City, on July 2023 – STAY TUNED!

And in the words of Kenya Cuevas, “our communities radical joy will be our greatest act of vengeance.”

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