Brazil elects Trans politicians to federal congress for the first time ever

While the head-to-head contest for president continues, Brazilians make history by electing two Trans politicians to federal congress.

split screen, on the left Duda Salabert and on the right Erika Hilton, the first trans politicians elected to federal congress in Brazil
Image: @duda_salabert & @hilton_erika via Instagram

For the first time ever, the federal congress in Brazil will have Trans politicians as part of its cohort – Erika Hilton from Sao Paulo and Duda Salabert from Minas Gerais.

According to the Associação Nacional de Travestis e Transexuais, the latest election in Brazil, which took place on Sunday, October 2, had 80 Trans politicians running for federal and state congress. This number broke the record for the number of Trans candidates running for election in Brazil.

Duda Salabert was the third most voted candidate in Minas Gerais, achieving 208.000 votes. After the successful result, she posted on Instagram: “I am the first Trans elected to the federal congress! I am the most voted federal congressperson in the history of MG! Even with attacks from the left wing, attacks by the ‘ciristas’, and death threats from the ultra-right wing, we won! Thank you very much, M.G!

In 2020, Salabert was the first openly Trans person to be elected to the city council of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. She is an environmentalist, a former teacher, and the founder of an anti-transphobia organisation called Transvest.

In Brazil’s federal congress, she will be joined by another Trans politician, Erika Hilton.

Erika Hilton is a Black Trans woman who became the first Trans city councillor in Sao Paulo. During the election in 2020, she received more votes than any other councillor in the country.

“Brazil has a huge historic debt with these [marginalised] groups and it has never worried about paying it. That bill will have to be paid sometime … I will do everything I can so that happens, even if it’s not in my lifetime,” said Hilton to The Guardian.

According to Grupo Gay de Bahia, Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries for LGBTQ+ people. Last year, at least 310 queer people died in the country, 114 of whom were Trans people.

Even so, Erika did not hesitate to enter the Brazilian political sphere. “When they want to silence me, that’s when I’ll shout,” she said defiantly.

On Sunday, Brazilians also voted to choose their next president. However, a decision was not made as none of the candidates achieved the 50% of votes needed to be elected.

Therefore, on October 30, the much-anticipated election between left-wing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and far-right Jair Bolsonaro will take place, and the next Brazilian president will take office in January 2023.

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