Lea T, a Brazilian model, is the first trans woman to participate in the lighting of the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony.
"I can't say anything yet, we need to keep the surprise, but the message is clear ... include everyone, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. We are all human beings and we are part of society. My role at the ceremony will help send this message, " Lea T told the BBC in an interview. Lea T has a close connection to the game of soccer because her father, Toninho Cerezo, is a former soccer player.
"At this time, in which Rio de Janeiro and Brazil will be presented to the world, it's essential that diversity is present. Brazil is a vast country and all its diversity should be somehow represented in this event," said T, who has modeled for Vogue Paris, Love Magazine, Cover Magazine and Hercules Magazine. The Brazilian model was named one of 12 Italian women who have changed fashion, by Forbes magazine.
This year there are a record number 44 out athletes competing in the Olympics. In January, the International Olympic Committee ruled that transgender athletes do not have to undergo gender-confirmation surgery to compete in the games.