Caracas – Venezuela’s parliamentary elections in December will be closely watched for a number of reasons, including that it will mark the first time a transgender candidate runs for office in the country.
Corporate lawyer and college professor Tamara Adrian, 61, announced her candidacy last week as part of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition platform.
Adrian, also a renowned activist for women and sexual minorities’ rights, decided to step into the race days after the electoral authorities in Venezuela said that at least 50 percent of the candidates running on Dec. 6 would have to be female – a move the opposition decried as a government maneuver to undermine their chances. The candidate, who is making history, was dismissive of another transgender in the U.S. making headlines recently — Caitlyn Jenner.
"She just came out of the closet and has the support of the Kardashians," Adrian said. "Her activism is only a few months old."
Interestingly, a few years ago Adrian actively advocated for rules ensuring gender parity but got no response from the Chavez administration when she submitted a proposal back in 2007. She said she has no doubt the new 50 percent rule is politically motivated.
“It was this government which eliminated the existing quota of 30 percent of female candidates from the electoral law,” she told Fox News Latino.
The self-declared libertarian candidate said she doesn’t know yet which district she will run for – that is still up for negotiation with MUD officials, she told FNL. However, there is a chance she is keeping the information private so the government doesn’t attempt to take her out of the race on a technicality – as they have done with Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado and others.
“In a country where we have gotten used to not having our rights respected and where we have seemingly learned to think with a 19th century mentality, anything can happen,” she said. “And we will deal with it accordingly, whatever happens,” she added.
Political analysts are saying the December vote could make history because, for the first time in 17 years Chavistas rule, there is a chance the opposition takes over the Assembly.
Whether it will be a first for a transgender politician is still up in the air as well. In any event, Adrian said she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed.
“I don’t want my candidacy to be perceived as that of a minority, but a democratic and libertarian candidacy,” she said, “one from somebody that’s highly qualified (…) somebody who can help overcome the worst crisis in Venezuelan history.”
Carlos Camacho is a freelance writer based in Caracas. You can follow him @carloselpana.