10 Trailblazing Transgender Politicians From Around The World

Political savvy abound.

While Hollywood is slowly opening its doors to transgender actors, Washington has been less welcoming. Nonetheless, trans politicians have been making serious strides in recent years. Below, we take a look at ten who are effecting change on the local, national and global levels.

  1. Geraldine Roman, The Philippines

    In 2016, Roman became the first trans woman elected to congress in the Philippines. Popular among poorer voters, she’s an outspoken advocate for economic justice and LGBT rights. She holds two master’s degrees and speaks five languages fluently.

  2. Misty Snow, Utah

    George Frey/Getty Images

    Snow ran for the Senate in Utah last year, the first transgender person to do so—and the first to be a major-party nominee for statewide office. The 32-year-old lost her race, but garnered a respectable 27% of the vote in a solidly red state.

    In April 2017, Snow announced her run against Chris Stewart for Utah’s 2nd congressional district.

  3. Georgina Beyer, New Zealand

    Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

    In 1995, Beyes, a former entertainer and sex worker was elected mayor of Carterton, making her the first trans mayor in the world. In 1999 she broke another barrier when she became a Labour Party MP for Wairarapa.

    “This is an historic moment,” she said in her first address to parliament. “We need to acknowledge that this country of ours leads the way in so many aspects. We have led the way for women getting the vote. We have led the way in the past, and I hope we will do so again in the future in social policy and certainly in human rights.”

  4. Michelle Suárez Bértora, Uruguay

    Bértora called becoming the firs trans person in the Uruguayan legislature in 2014 “a sad honor,” because it reflected how much more work there was to do. Even before taking office, she was also a staunch activist, helping to draft the country’s marriage equality law and advising Black Sheep, an LGBT advocacy group.

  5. Petra De Sutter, Belgium

    Wikipedia Commons

    De Sutter was elected to the Belgian senate in 2014 as a member of the Green party. She also heads the department of reproductive medicine at Ghent University Hospital and is an advocate for reproductive rights, especially regarding surrogacy.

  6. Tomoyo Hosoda, Japan

    Tomoyo Hosoda | Twitter

    In March 2017, Hosoda became the first out transgender man in the world elected to public office when he was elected councilor for the city of Iruma. Just 25, he’s already an accomplished activist who advocates for the LGBT community, seniors and the disabled.

  7. Carla Antonelli, Spain

    Wikipedia Commons

    An actress who’s appeared on Spanish television, Antonelli was active in trans rights long before being elected to the Madrid Assembly in 2011: In 2006, she threatened a hunger strike unless the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) adopted a gender-identity law. The PSOE relented and, the following year, she became the first trans person in Madrid to change the gender on their legal documents.

  8. Anna Grodzka, Poland

    Wikipedia Commons

    Grodzka was Poland’s first openly transgender person elected to Parliament. This Polish politician had a diverse career before taking office, including jaunts as a political studies professor at Warsaw University and a publishing industry professional. Before coming out and transitioning, Grodzka was married with a son; she finalized her divorce in 2007, transitioned in 2009, and was elected to the country’s Parliament in 2011, just two years later.

  9. Vladimir Luxuria, Italy

    Barbara Zanon/Getty Images

    Luxuria won the title of Europe’s first openly transgender member of Parliament after Italy’s 2006 elections. An Italian native, Luxuria belongs to the country’s Communist Reformation Party. Her political campaign was fraught with discrimination, including a physical assault and verbal attacks from fellow Italian politicians. Before her foray into politics, Luxuria’s illustrious career included acting, writing, and hosting a TV program.

  10. Jess Herbst, New Hope, Texas

    Jess Herbst

    Herbst broke barriers in May 2017 when she came out as transgender, less than a year after winning her seat as mayor of New Hope, Texas. Shortly afterward, Herbst reported that her announcement was met with support and acceptance from her small-town community.

    “Two years ago, with the support of my wife, daughters and son-in-law, I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT),” she wrote in a letter to her constituents. “At the time, I did not imagine I would hold the Mayors (sic) position, but here I am.”

Samantha Manzella is a writer and copy editor based out of the Hudson Valley. You can find her writing in a coffeehouse or searching Insta for the latest tattoo artist to hit the scene.