Fernando Machado and Diane Rodriguez are set to become the first transgender parents in South America. They announced their pregnancy on social media earlier this month and have received lots of publicity since then.
The father, Fernando, whose birth name was Maria, is carrying the baby, which was conceived the old-fashioned way, as neither of them have gone through the gender assignment surgery yet and have only been taking hormones. The mother, Diane, is one of Ecuador’s most prominent LGBT activists. She was born Luis and decided to make the pregnancy public in an attempt to change the mindsets of the staunch Roman Catholic society.
The Guardian reported that Diane wanted to break the myths on transsexuality.
She said, “We’re trying to break the myths about transsexuality. The church is always criticizing gays and homosexuals for adopting children, so it would be a contradiction to criticize us for giving birth naturally.”
Diane made headlines in Ecuador in 2013, when she became the first transgender candidate to run for Congress. Diane Rodriguez has been an outspoken supporter of leftist ideals for years and vowed that her focus would be on all minorities, vulnerable ethnic groups, feminist causes, and the legalization of gay marriage.
She has spoken before of her struggle in the wake of coming out to her family, who shunned her and forced her to live on the streets. Fernando, a Venezuelan by birth who later moved to Ecuador, says his transition has been fully supported by his family.
“This was the wish of both of us and there was nothing biological or legal to stop us, so we decided to do it. We live as man and woman. I’m a transfeminine woman and Fernando is a transmasculine man. The process to get here was complex for each of us. Knowing it’s our right, we decided to add another member to our family.”
The transgender community has made significant progress in South America when it comes to breaking the norms. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos passed an ordinance six months back that allowed people to change their gender on the national ID cards easily through a public notary. At least 340 individuals have undergone the procedure to date.
Meanwhile, Argentina has been far off regarding legislation for hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery. Transgender people still experience widespread discrimination in Argentina.
According to a study by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, between 2008 and 2011, 79 percent of the murders of transgender individuals reported globally occurred in Latin America, totaling 664 cases.
Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender lawmaker, aims to use her political position to overhaul the country’s male-dominated culture, raise gender equality, and fight for the rights of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
She said, “In Venezuela we don’t have any rights. There are some precarious and isolated rules on the issue of nondiscrimination and in the labor sector, but nothing more.”
Reuters reported that the lawmaker-elect had to register under her given name Thomas Adrian despite a 2002 sex change because Venezuelan law does not allow anyone born male to legally become female or take a woman’s name.
Adrian also said that one of her priorities is the legalization of same-sex marriage. Marriage equality is one of the issues impinging on Venezuela’s LGBT community, and transgender men and women are not allowed to seek legal name or gender changes.
Diane Rodriguez and Fernando Machado are turning a new page in bringing an awareness about LGBT rights by this pregnancy and its public announcement. The curiosity and the positive sentiment around the whole news are proof to it.
[Image via Facebook]