RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Mexico will experience on June 6 the largest elections in its history with an unprecedented number of LGBT candidacies due to a combination of inclusive policies of the National Electoral Institute (INE) and increasingly visible activism that has shaken the parties.
This is the case of Roshell Terranova, a trans activist, and artist from Mexico City who, with the liberal Movimiento Ciudadano (MC), represents one of the 44 LGBT candidacies registered by INE to renew the Chamber of Deputies in the mid-term elections.
Mexico will hold the largest election in its history on June 6, when nearly 93.5 million are called to vote for 500 federal deputies, 15 of 32 state governors, 30 local congresses, and 1,900 city councils.
INE has implemented new rules for parties to nominate indigenous, disabled, Afro-Mexican, migrant, and sexually diverse people, electoral counselor Adriana Favela explained to Efe.
“In addition to being the most important elections in the history of our country in terms of the number of positions, we must remember that 20,435 popularly elected positions are at stake, and they must also be the most inclusive,” she said.
The parties, he added, must run two relative majority candidacies (direct election) with LGBT candidates in any of the 300 federal districts and a proportional representation formula (plurinominals) in the first 10 places of the list total of 40.
Of more than 5,300 candidates for various offices who responded to an INE identity questionnaire, 1.9% identified themselves as part of the LGBT community.
The majority, almost 30 %, are in Movimiento Ciudadano; followed by the nascent Redes Sociales Progresistas, with 16.5 %, and the center-left opposition Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), with 13.5 %.
In contrast, the ruling leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) only registered 1.94 %, below the right-wing National Action Party (4.85 %).
“They have to be represented there because that is how our Mexican society is; we have a diversity of people, and we manifest ourselves in different ways, but also because these people can help us look for better solutions to the problems”, Favela said.
The opening of the parties has allowed historical leaders of the LGBT community to enter politics, such as Terranova herself, who 17 years ago founded in Mexico City the association Casa Roshell, where there are shows, art, psychological and professional counseling.
Terranova hopes to reach Congress to promote LGBT rights throughout the country and abroad human rights agenda that includes other historically discriminated groups and marginalized people without access to basic services.
He also believes that the current government “has lacked inclusiveness.”
“We have to get our act together, the solution is in the citizen, we know reliably how we have been governed in the past, how we are being governed in the present, and Movimiento Ciudadano is an optimistic third option”, he stated.
The INE counselor also highlighted local actions and LGBT candidacies in the states, such as the State Electoral Commission of Nuevo León, in the north of the country, which also set inclusive actions.
Although he does not represent any party, Roberto Alviso, from the citizen collective El Futuro Florece, hopes to become the first openly gay independent local deputy in Nuevo León.
“We are going to build a Nuevo León where we can live without fear, and that implies having police institutions that protect us instead of making us feel threatened and that we can build alternatives so that adolescents and young people have open doors,” Alviso stated in an interview.
The young man, who is running for district 6 in Monterrey, agrees that his agenda is not limited by his identity but has allowed him to become sensitive to broad issues by working in civil associations for missing persons, social reintegration, and security.
“The political work that I have had to do from civil organizations has brought me closer to clear stories of injustice, in different areas, in defense of human rights, in the inaction of the State in cases of disappearance,” he said.
Alviso hopes that his candidacy and other people of sexual diversity will inspire other people who still suffer discrimination.
“Just before, I was not visible, but I think we have always been there, just that this electoral process broadens that visibility, and I am also excited to see it,” she said.