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  • Jesusa Rodriguez, the first openly lesbian senator in Mexico.

    Jesusa Rodriguez, the first openly lesbian senator in Mexico. | Photo: Facebook / @jesusardgz

Published 5 December 2018
Opinion

Mexico's first openly homosexual senator took office last week. 

Mexico’s first openly lesbian senator joined the cabinet of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) as the secretary of the Interior replacing the current secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero.

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Laura Maria de Jesus Rodriguez Ramirez, 63, better known as Jesusa Rodriguez, is a feminist, actress, theatre director, playwright, performance artist, singer, teacher, and an activist.

"When I was a child, people told me I was autistic. I thought they meant 'artistic' and that's why I dedicated my life to this," said the senator.

In a country where violence against the sexual minority is widespread, an openly lesbian senator seems overdue.

New York Times reported in July that a large number of people from the LGBTI community are trying to cross the Mexico-U.S. border to flee the constant persecution faced by the members of the community.

The same-sex couples in the country do not have the same benefits as heterosexuals. A bill passed in the first week of November in Mexico’s Senate granting same-sex couples equal social security benefits as heterosexuals moved to the Chamber of Deputies, where advocates expect it will be voted into law.

With new progressive senators in the cabinet of AMLO, many more progressive laws are hoped to be passed.

Rodriguez is also vocal about Indigenous rights. In one of her artwork, Coatlicue (1993), Rodriguez transformed a pre-Hispanic statue of the Mexica [Aztec] Room of the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico into an animated being (the true mother of Mexicans), which is running for the presidency of Mexico.

Through the use of an Indigenous female icon confined in a museum, the artist parodied the attitude of Mexican official politicians in the face of their country's problems.

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