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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 11, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 50
Transgender woman elected to Venezuelan National Assembly
Section One
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Transgender woman elected to Venezuelan National Assembly

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Transgender woman has been elected to Venezuela's National Assembly.

Tamara Adrian is a lawyer and was a candidate for People's Will, a small socialist party that formed part of the winning opposition bloc, or MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, or Democratic Unity Roundtable).

The PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, or United Socialist Party of Venezuela), which supports Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, was trounced in the election, losing its majority in the country's Assembly.

Maduro's government has been hurt by falling oil prices, which once sustained its socialist economic policies. Spending on social programs has led to skyrocketing inflation and national debt in the absence of oil income.

Maduro also lacks the charisma of his predecessor in the presidency, Hugo Chavez, during whose tenure the PSUV was a seemingly invincible political force.

Although PSUV ran its own LGBT candidates, Adrian accused the Maduro government of stalling legislation for LGBT rights. For example, she told the Washington Blade, she helped draft a marriage equality measure in 2014, but it went nowhere in the PSUV-dominated Assembly.

'Every time we try to get a chance before the National Assembly or whatever, we only receive silence,' Adrian said. 'Then suddenly the opposition puts this candidature in the mainstream, and they change the game.'

Adrian also charged that the Maduro government had mismanaged the national economy, causing real harm to working class families.

'People are standing in line for hours - eight, nine hours in order to buy a chicken or to buy some meat,' Adrian told the Blade. 'It's a very difficult environment from an economic point of view and it has to be addressed from the [National Assembly].'

As election results were being announced on December 7, Adrian told Out magazine that Venezuela is in crisis and the country's politicians have so far failed to respond.

'Venezuela is going through the worst economic, social and cultural crisis ever recorded,' she said.

'We have to talk about the rights of couples and families, about the gender identity Act, about the mutilation of intersex children and about discrimination, which includes hate crimes, bullying, workplace harassment, and access to housing and healthcare.'

In spite of opposition charges that his government would interfere in the election to keep its Assembly majority, Maduro has announced he will abide by the results of the vote. He has not said yet whether he will accept legislation passed by the new opposition majority in the Assembly, or if he will veto it.

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