Transgender candidates made history in Brazil’s general elections over the weekend. Four transgender politicians won their respective races and will soon be seated on city councils across the South American country. This was also the first election in Brazilian history where transgender candidates were not forced to run under their dead names. The recent elections gains were bittersweet and needed as Brazil remains the deadliest place in the world for the trans community.
In Brazil’s capital of Sao Paulo, Erika Hilton (left) and Thammy Miranda (right) won landslide victories in their city council bids. Both were running for one of 55 open seats in the country's largest city, and each was among the top ten candidates in terms of votes received. Hilton, a transgender woman, ran for office with the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and received the most votes of any woman in the race. Miranda, a transgender man, ran for office with the right-wing Liberal Party. He is well-known in the country in part because of his appearances in a Father’s Day advertising campaign for cosmetics company Natura.
Duda Salabert, a schoolteacher and transgender woman, was elected to the city council in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte. She ran with the center-left Democratic Labor Party and is the first transgender city councilperson in the city’s history.
In Aracaju, the capital city of Sergipe in northeastern Brazil, transgender woman Linda Brasil won her race for city council. She becomes the first trans city council woman in that city’s history.
“It’s historic, and also a very big responsibility, because I’m representing a community that has always been excluded,” Brasil told France 24.
While the gains made were significant, Brazil is still generally regarded as the most dangerous place in the world for the trans community. While LGBTQ+ protections are codified in Brazilian law, enforcement is lacking outside the major cities. According to Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM), 152 trans folks were murdered in Brazil during the 12 months between October 2019 and September of this year. In fact, 43 percent of all recorded trans murders over this period took place in Brazil, while 82 percent took place in Central and South America. For comparison, 34 transgender persons have been violently killed in the United States so far this year.