QUEER VOICES
05/15/2016 09:15 am ET

12 History-Making Transgender Politicians From Around The World

These pioneering figures refused to accept the status quo.

Geraldine Roman, who identifies as transgender, made history this week when she was elected to the House of Representatives in the Philippines. 

The 49-year-old will become her country's first openly trans person to hold public office, securing the congressional seat in Bataan previously held by her mother, Herminia Roman.

Roman, who transitioned more than two decades ago, will set a precedent in a country where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people only enjoy limited rights. Still, she'll now join an elite group of trans pioneers who've held various elected offices around the world, including Venezuela's Tamara Adrián, Poland's Anna Grodzka and Luisa Revilla Urcia in Peru. 

Take a look at 12 history-making transgender politicians from around the world.

(Note: The list below uses "transgender" as an umbrella term to include many different transgender expressions and lives but it should be noted that different countries, cultures and communities may use other more specific terms to describe those experiences.)

  • Georgina Beyer
    New Zealand's Georgina Beyer became the <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&amp;objectid=11210378"
    Vijay Mathur / Reuters
    New Zealand's Georgina Beyer became the world's first openly transgender MP when she entered Parliament in 1999. At the time, the media heavily emphasized Beyer's past as a sex worker, but she said the scrutiny "did not make enough of an impact to destroy my credibility as a human being, as a person, as a politician. Which is remarkable.''
  • Althea Garrison
    In 1992, Garrison <a href="http://tumblr.genderedintelligence.co.uk/post/44148984702/trans-history-for-lgbt-history-month-alt
    Boston Globe via Getty Images
    In 1992, Garrison was elected as a Republican to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Just days after that victory, however, The Boston Herald published an article outing Garrison, who had been living as her authentic self as a woman at the time of her campaign, as transgender. In 1994, she lost her re-election bid.
  • Aya Kamikawa
    Kamikawa, who is a Tokyo municipal official, became Japan's <a href="http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2011/11/20/general/para
    Reuters Photographer / Reuters
    Kamikawa, who is a Tokyo municipal official, became Japan's first openly transgender person in a public office in 2003. Still, in 2006, she said, “My mission is not over yet. There are still many who are suffering as I used to.” 
  • Anna Grodzka
    Grodzka was elected in 2011 as a member of the&nbsp;Palikot's Movement party in Poland, making her the world's only openly tr
    JANEK SKARZYNSKI via Getty Images
    Grodzka was elected in 2011 as a member of the Palikot's Movement party in Poland, making her the world's only openly transgender MP and the second ever in history. "The real issue is a lot more complicated," she has said of her country's stance on LGBT rights, "And Polish people are a lot more divided on the issue."
  • Shabnam Mausi
    Shabnam Mausi (left)<i>&nbsp;</i>is the <a href="http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/6-indian-transgenders-who-dared
    STR via Getty Images
    Shabnam Mausi (left) is the first openly transgender person in India to be elected to public office, serving as part of the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003. A film about her life was released in 2005.
  • Camille Cabral
    In 2001, Cabral <a href="http://zagria.blogspot.com/2011/11/camille-cabral-1944-dermatologist.html#.VzImFRUrJTY" target="_bla
    Francois Lenoir / Reuters
    In 2001, Cabral was elected to the council of the 17th arrondissement of Paris by the French Green Party. The dermatologist made history as the first openly transgender woman in France to be elected into office and bravely defended the rights of sex workers. She served until 2008.
  • Nikki Sinclaire
    Nikki Sinclaire became the <a href="http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2013/11/19/european-parliament-member-comes-
    AFP via Getty Images
    Nikki Sinclaire became the United Kingdom’s first openly transgender parliamentarian in 2013 when she came out in her autobiography. In the book, Sinclaire revealed she underwent gender confirmation surgery in 1995.

    Sinclaire served from 2009 to 2014, when she was not re-elected.
  • Luisa Revilla Urcia
    via YouTube
    In 2014, Luisa Revilla Urcia became the first openly transgender person to be elected to public office in Peru when she won a seat on a local council in La Esperanza in the province of Trujillo. 

    “I am going to promote equality and I will say no to discrimination,” she told The Washington Blade. “We want everyone to have equal access, to succeed and to achieve their goals. When there is no discrimination, there is pacification. Infrastructure and modernity is important, but promoting values and showing concern for the people matters even more.”
  • Michelle Suárez
    via YouTube
    In 2014 Michelle Suárez became the first openly transgender official elected to the Uruguayan legislature, as well as the first openly trans person elected to a national assembly in the Americas.
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