Chile has made history by electing the first-ever transgender official to its legislature during the 2021 parliamentary elections.
Emilia Schneider, a transgender woman and activist, received 26,000 votes on 21 November.
She will be sworn into the Chamber of Deputies in March 2022, which is the lower chamber of the country’s National Congress, to represent the 10th District of Santiago de Chile.
“Today the security, dignity and integrity of the rights of the LGTBI community and women are at stake,” Schneider said after being elected. “The far-right seeks fear to prevail, but we have to make hope prevail, the same one that led us to vote for a new Constitution (in 2020) and the one that has prevailed in this last decade of mobilisations.”
During her time in this role, she led students taking part in the country’s ‘Estallido Social’ (meaning social outburst) protests from 2019 to 2021.
In addition to this, she is known for being the great-granddaughter of General René Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army from 1969 until his assassination in 1970.
The presidential election is set to take place on 19 December, with it appearing to be between José Antonio Kast, a far-right candidate, and Gabriel Boric, a left wing one.
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Kast, who has previously opposed abortion and marriage equality, came out on top of the first round of voting on 21 November – though did not gain the 50% majority to win outright.
According to MercoPress, Schneider said: “Chile does not want to look to the past, but it is not yet clear what the future is with two such different alternatives.”
The country is also closer than ever to making same-sex marriage and adoption legal after first legalising same-sex civil unions in 2015.
A bill passed through the Chamber of Deputies during the week of 22 November that would move to legalise both if approved by the Senate after a final review.