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Brazil Elects First Two Transgender Members of Congress

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Brazil voted in the first two transgender members of its Congress in Sunday’s election, while the nation’s anti-LGBTQ+ president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been forced into a runoff as he seeks reelection.Erika Hilton won a seat representing the state of São Paulo, and voters in the state of Minas Gerais elected Duda Salabert, the Washington Blade reports.

Both women are currently members of the municipal councils in their respective cities, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.“We are going to get off the street corners, we are going to get out of jails, we are going to get off crack corners and prostitution and start to think about public policies and legislation,” Hilton said after the vote, according to The Guardian. “Our mandate in Brasília will be more organized, more committed, and closer to people.Salabert spoke out in a Twitter video, saying, “We won the election despite the attacks from leftists, attacks from Christian fundamentalists, and death threats from the extreme right.”Hilton and Salabert were among 324 out LGBTQ+ candidates running for Congress, state legislatures, and governors’ offices, the Blade reports.

Eighteen won their races, and that will double Brazil’s LGBTQ+ representation, the LGBTQ Victory Institute notes. Sixteen of the winners are women.“Brazil’s LGBTQ community — and trans community in particular — has never had equitable representation in government,” Alhelí Partida, director of global programs at Victory Institute, said in a press release. “But with a record number of LGBTQ candidates running this year, it is clear that LGBTQ leaders are stepping up to make change from within the halls of power.

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