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Transgender Couple In Ecuador Blaze A Trail As New Parents

Fernando Machado and Diane Rodriguez have put trans equality in the spotlight in the South American country.

A transgender couple in Ecuador are the proud parents of a brand new baby, helping to redefine family in the South American country.

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Fernando Machado and Diane Rodriguez are the most famous trans people in the country, which has a complicated relationship with LGBT rights.

Ecuador’s constitution bars discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity, but there is also constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. (Domestic unions between same-sex couples are recognized.)

And even legal protections can’t provide immunity from hatred and violence: There are widespread accounts of dozens of ex-gay clinics that promise to “cure” patients, usually lesbians, via deprivation, electric shocks and “corrective” rape.

Diane herself has been kidnapped on more than one occasion, but it hasn’t sent her into hiding. Far from it: In 2013, she became the first transgender person run for congress in Ecuador. She lost, but is looking to run for senate next year.

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And earlier this year, she won transgender people the right to change their birth certificate to match their gender identity.

There has been some opposition to the high-profile couple from within Ecuador’s LGBT community, some of who resent Diane’s relationship with President Rafael Correa, a staunch Catholic and conservative.

For now, she and Fernando are basking in the glow of new parenthood. And while they’re happy to be spokespeople for a movement, they’re in no rush to thrust their child into the same spotlight.

“We don’t have a name yet—or rather we do, but we are just waiting to announce it,” Diane told the BBC.

The two met on Facebook and, after living together for three weeks, Fernando became pregnant.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery