Mexico's Maria Clemente Garcia has made history as one of the first two trans women to sit in the lower house of Congress and she has big plans to push for the rights of LGBT+ people in Latin America's second-largest economy.
Garcia and fellow Morena party candidate Salma Luevano were part of the more than 100 LGBT+ candidates who took part in the June 6 elections, which saw the highest mid-term turnout in more than two decades, according to the electoral authority INE.
"Mexico having not one, but two trans women in congress in the lower house, representing two of the country's regions, is historic in Latin America and maybe the world. With two different understandings of sexual diversity, of discrimination and how it is lived, and of possible solutions. Most importantly, it was Morena the party that broke this glass ceiling so that trans people could participate in politics. Not only in diversity issues, but also issues regarding public life in our country."
Garcia aims to amend the first article of Mexico's constitution, which outlaws discrimination based on "sexual preference" - which she says is an out-of-date concept.
"The first challenge is to modify the first article in the Constitution to include more up-to-date concepts. Such as the concept of sexual orientation, identity, and or gender expression instead of the concept of sexual preference. This way, our Magna Carta will be in line with international conventions.”
She also intends to push for tax breaks for companies that hire LGBT+ staff to improve diversity in the private sector.
More than half of Mexico's 32 states recognize gay marriage, and the nation's top court has ruled that trans people have a legal right to change their gender identity on official documents.
But access to those rights is uneven.
"We need to create special prosecution offices to investigate crimes against people from the sexually diverse community. I think that could be an excellent strategy from the lower house to cater to this big issue, which places Mexico as the second country with the most homophobia, lesbophobia, and transphobic hate crimes, surpassed only by Brazil."