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Transgender, Queer Candidates Backed in Runs for Colombia's Senate

Transgender, Queer Candidates Backed in Runs For Colombia's Senate

Advocacy groups are looking to educate voters about candidates' positions on LGBT issues.

LGBT advocates in Colombia have launched a Vote for Equality campaign, ranking each candidate on their track record and policies toward LGBT Colombians, ahead of the congressional election, which takes place Sunday.

The effort was initiated by Colombia Diversa, Caribe Afirmativo, Santamaria Fundacion, EgoCity, and Sentiido last month. Among the top picks is bisexual Congresswoman Angelica Lozano, the first openly LGBT person elected to the Colombian Congress, who is running for Senate. Her partner, Claudia Lopez, is running for president as the Green Alliance candidate. The campaign is also backing a trans woman, Tatiana Pineros, who is running for Senate after serving in the Bogota mayor's cabinet, reports the Washington Blade.

The activist group Caribe Afirmativo notes that there are 14 openly LGBT candidates running for office.

"The Vote for Equality (campaign) has an objective to promote the free, transparent and informed vote of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people of Colombia, as well as that of allies and people who stand in solidarity to protect the rights of this population in the 2018 elections," the campaign's press release reads. International groups, such as the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Netherlands Institution for Multiparty Democracy, the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, the Observatory for Political Participation of LGBTI People in Colombia, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation, have offered their support to the cause.

Colombia is one of the few Latin American countries with marriage equality. It also recognizes the right of trans citizens to legally change their name and gender on identification cards without having gender-confirmation surgery. However, violence against LGBT Colombians is still a major problem. More queer politicians could implement effective protections for LGBTs.

While the congressional election is set for Sunday, the presidential election will not take place May 27, with a runoff if no candidate wins a majority of the vote.

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