There are 45 transgender people running for a Legislative seat in the upcoming general elections. The number, according to the Brazilian association for transgender people Antra, is the highest in history. "If there is a conservative side rising, there is another side which is reacting," says Antra's president Keila Simpson.
In 2010, there were only five transgender candidacies. This year, most candidates are running in the Southeast and Northeast regions, with left-wing parties, like PSOL and PCdoB. Also, most of them are new in politics; two out of three are campaigning for office for the first time.
"An awakening is happening, and there's no turning back from it," says journalist Léo Áquilla (PHS-SP), who is running for the sixth. Even if not elected, she says, she will run for office again. "We are no longer dirt under the rug and we won't go back into the closet."
All candidates are running for Legislative seats, especially federal and state Lower House representatives. There is only one candidate for Senate, Duda Salabert (PSOL-MG). For Simpson though, the goal is not to create a "rainbow caucus"; their policies propose to go beyond the LGBT agenda, also including human rights, public safety, and jobs.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV