01/24/2013 10:43 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Valentina Verbal, Chilean Activist, Could Be South America's First Transgender Legislator

A Chilean transgender activist could be poised to become a pioneer not just in her own country, but in Latin America.

The Santiago Times features an in-depth interview with Valentina Verbal, a candidate for the Chilean Congress who, if elected, would become South America's first transgender legislator. Among her goals is to change her country's national identification laws to acknowledge more forms of sexual and gender identity.

"When a trans person has a card or national identity card that doesn’t reflect their social sex in practice it means they are undocumented,” Verbal tells the publication. “Since they appear to be one sex and their card says another, it can be difficult to find employers who don’t see it as a problem. They can’t get a job and they don’t have access to work, which is a basic human right.”

The Times acknowledges that Verbal faces an "upward climb," and thus far has received only scattered support from within her own party.

“I’m taking a risk and I don’t know if it’s going to work out,” she says. “I’m going to try anyway.”

Read the full interview here.



48 Transgender Pioneers