Transgender Venezuelan lawmaker vows to fight for gay rights

Wed Dec 9, 2015 2:33pm EST
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By Deisy Buitrago

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's first transgender lawmaker says she will fight for gay rights and gender equality, drawing inspiration from a flurry of new laws on marriage and civil unions in the rest of traditionally Roman Catholic Latin America.

After her historic election to the National Assembly as part of an opposition triumph, lawyer and activist Tamara Adrian told Reuters she would seek to change Venezuela's often "macho" society.

"In Venezuela we don't have any rights," Adrian, 61, said of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement.

The lawmaker-elect had to register under her given name Thomas Adrian despite a 2002 sex change, for instance, because Venezuelan law does not allow anyone born male to legally become female or take a woman's name.

"There are some precarious and isolated rules on the issue of non-discrimination and in the labor sector, but nothing more. We hope to have a law on marriage equality very soon," she said in her book-filled Caracas office on Tuesday.

Argentina in 2010 became the first Latin American country to allow gay couples to marry and adopt children.

Several other countries have since legalized gay marriage or civil partnerships, defying opposition from the traditionally strong Catholic Church and the increasingly influential Evangelical lobby.

"We have to talk about what countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador have, and what they're discussing now in Bolivia," she said.   Continued...

Tamara Adrian, lawmaker-elect in parliamentary elections, speaks during an interview with Reuters at her offices in Caracas, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Marco Bello