Alejandra González was the first openly-trans* candidate ever elected to public office in Chile, becoming a councillor in her home district of Lampa. A big step forward.
Sadly, the Mayor, Graciela Ortúzar, didn’t see it that way, and in a blatantly transphobic way insisted on using Alejandra’s former name and male pronouns and questioning her gender identity in council meetings.
Lampa’s not the biggest place in Chile, but what happened in its council chamber has become the subject of a landmark Supreme Court judgement, which will have far-reaching repercussions for Chile’s LGBTI community.
The court ruled that the the Chilean Constitution’s principles of equality and personal integrity apply equally to the LGBTI community and to our personal identity. The judgement is very clear, and the former Mayor has been instructed to respect Alejandra’s identity and to pay a fine the equivalent of 5 months income tax.
New laws protecting Gender Identity are currently making their slow progress through Chile’s parliament, and Alejandra hopes the judgement will speed things up and raise awareness of wider discrimination against the trans* community.