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The politics of change

14 March 2012

If Diana Maroquín Bayardo was just another lawyer, maybe fifty years ago it might have been newsworthy that she was seeking a seat in the Federal Chamber of Deputies.  That she is also a well known TV Astrologer slash Fengshu consultant slash lawyer makes her no more eccentric than many Mexican politicians.  Having run from lower office as a PT/Convergencia candidate , coupled with her name recognition both as a performer and a political activist might very well make the prospective PRD candidate if she was running in a safe district in Mexico City a shoe-in.  From the state of Hidalgo, it’s more of a gamble.  Still, nothing particularly notable in all this … except….

Jornada (my translation):

She has  previously predicted the Southeast Asian tsunami in 2004, and a coal mining disaster in northern Mexico in 2006.  Offering to turn her supporters into millionaires through Feng Shu, Diana Marroquín Bayardo — popular for her television, radio and newspaper Chinese horoscopes and predictions — underwent the arduous process of being the first person in Mexico to force the state to recognize her transformation from  male to female…

“I’m not so much a person who changed their sex and wants to be a candidate… [Rather] my priority … is to represent all vulnerable groups,” Bayardo told Reuters…

In a country where the Catholic Church has a strong influence, the clergy has decried reforms in the Capital District, decriminalizing abortion, legalizing same-sex marriage and legalizing sex change,   Bayardo wants to focus her work in the Chamber of Deputies on  raising awareness and promoting reforms that protect minority of homosexuals, lesbians and transsexuals, she said.

“We are in a state of helplessness (…)the Federal District is the only place where we have some respect and legal protection, but not so in any other state,” she said.

Bayardo is one of the few transgenders in Latin America to make a foray into poltics.  In many countries of the region, including Nicaragua, sex changes are not legal, and only in 2008 was homosexuality stricken from the criminal code.

The sex-change process was not easy, but she is excited to show her new identity, preferring to leave her past history behind, and not even wanting to remember her old name

Bayardo began hormone treatment at the age of 17 to remove body hair and refine her voice among other things, undergoing a gender change operation shortly after she turned 20.  But that was only the beginning of her transformation.

She was “legally born” in 2003, at the age of 29. She received a birth certificate with the new name, but only as a marginal note, registering the sex change, and leaving intact her former, male, identity, something considered discriminatory by experts.

This could be removed only in 2008, following a reform of sex and gender diversity laws in the Federal District, which allowed a complete change of the birth certificate and required state agencies to recognize the new identity and gender.

After that, she began a year long journey through the bureaucracy, changing her identity on everything from school records to her voters registration.  Had she lived outside the Federal District, the task would have taken even longer.

She is the first, but not the only transgender to enter politics in Mexico this year.  Diana Sanchez is seeking a seat in the District Legislature.

Bayardo’s application to be her party´s candidate should be approved later this week.

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