By Alberto Fajardo
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Maria Garcia and Salma Luevano will in September become the first two trans women sworn into Mexico’s Congress, with Garcia promising to create a special public prosecutor’s office to combat hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s historic in Latin America and perhaps also globally that Mexico today has in its Congress not only one but two trans women,” said 36-year-old Garcia, who until a few weeks ago worked as a driver for the ride hailing company Didi.
That Garcia and Luevano, both members of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s ruling MORENA party, will be seated in the Lower House is a major milestone for a country with a long history of machismo and homophobia.
A total of 117 candidates, or nearly 2% of more than 6,000 candidates in the country’s June election who responded to a survey by national electoral institute INE, said they identified as part of the LGBT community.
Garcia said she will propose changes to the judicial system to create a special prosecutor’s office to ensure that crimes against the LGBT community are prosecuted.
“This could be an excellent strategy we promote from the legislative branch to address this serious problem Mexico still faces,” Garcia said.
According to the National Observatory of Hate Crimes Against the LGBT Community, 54 attacks occurred last year, including violent deaths and forced disappearances.
Another of Garcia’s proposals will be to promote changes to the constitution related to sexual orientation, as well as to combat work discrimination.
Garcia said she also wants to introduce an initiative to give tax incentives to businesses that commit to hiring people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
As she walked in the western part of Mexico City visiting shops, Garcia gave out rainbow stickers with the message: “This business is inclusive.”
(Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Noe Torres; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editin by Sonya Hepinstall)