LGBTQ community in Venezuela has a leader in transgender politician

Supreme Court case challenges same-sex marriage ban

By Cody Weddle

CARACAS - Over the last decade the LGBTQ community has made significant advancements in their quest for equal rights in most of the hemisphere. Tamara Adrian is fighting in Venezuela, where there are few protections.

Adrian, who identifies as transgender, underwent a sex change in 2002. She ran with the support of President Nicolas Maduro’s opposition party Voluntad Popular and became Venezuela’s first politician to identify as transgender and the second in the hemisphere. 

Adrian, who is the president of the Committee of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, now has a seat in Venezuela’s National Assembly, which has yet to debate whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage.

“If you want to have equal recognition being a transgender person probably you have to be three times as good as a man,” Adrian said.

More than a decade after her sex change, Adrian, who has a partner and children from a previous marriage, hasn’t been able to legally change her name.

There has been some progress this month. The National Electoral Council in Venezuela (CNE) issued its first birth certificate recognizing a lesbian couple as the legal parents of a child. 

Giovanni Piermattei is the president of the Venezuelan Equality chapter. He welcomes the attention Adrian, a lawyer trained in Paris, is attracting to the cause.

“We are waiting on a judgment from the Supreme Court now and we will continue fighting for equal rights wherever we can in the courts or in the national assembly,” Piermattei said.

Piermattei was referring to the case of Carlos Javier Holder Wendell and Patrick Holder Wendell, a gay couple who wed in Massachussetts, and filed a lawsuit against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuelan. They want the government to recognize their union recognized. 

A Venezuelan man and an American who wed in Massachussetts filed a law suit against the Venezuelan government.

Venezuelans got to know Adrian after watching “Tamara,” a Venezuelan movie based on her story that was released last year. The film also made it to international film festivals as far as India.

Adrian, who is also the president of the board of directors of Global Action for Trans Equality and the co-president of the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association, will be a speaker for the Global Conference on Human Rights. Adrian will speak before the World OutGames, which will take place in Miami May 26-29.

Local 10 News' Andrea Torres contributed to this report. 

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