© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Transgender candidate for deputy MORENA party Maria Clemente poses for a picture during a political event ahead of the midterm elections on June 6, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico, May 30, 2021. REUTERS / Carlos Jasso
By Lizbeth Diaz
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Gay, lesbian and transgender candidates are competing for votes in Mexico’s mid-term election to anger the politics of the largely Roman Catholic, socially conservative Latin American country as usual.
A total of 117 candidates, or nearly 2% of the more than 6,000 candidates who ran for office on Sunday and responded to a poll by the national electoral institute INE, have been identified as part of the LGBT community.
Approximately 21,000 local and national races will be contested in voting in a crucial election for the agenda of left-wing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the second half of his six-year term, including 15 governor posts and all 500 seats in the lower house of the term Congress.
Mexico’s political parties have already had to nominate an equal number of men and women, and new INE rules passed last January added a requirement to nominate candidates from vulnerable groups, including the LGBT community.
Like others seeking employment in politics, LGBT candidates emphasize public safety and the economy, but also specific barriers to those who are often marginalized.
“That is exactly why I want to serve in Congress, fight discrimination everywhere and create movement with a representative voice,” said Maria Garcia, transgender candidate for Congress in Mexico City.
Garcia runs under the banner of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) of Lopez Obrador, who seldom advocates for LGBT issues and takes the side of the conservatives in same-sex marriage.
Gay activist and candidate Aurelien Guilabert said the need to tackle a growing number of hate crimes against LGBT people motivated him to run for the capital’s local convention.
“We’re going through one of the worst crises,” he said.
Guilabert is a member of the Citizens Movement (MC). According to the INE poll, nearly 32% of LGBT candidates running on Sunday belong to the party, the highest percentage of any party. (This story is repositioned to remove the redundant word ‘or’ in paragraph 2.
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