‘Lift this country up’: Trans pioneer Erika Hilton seeks Brazil election win

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09/28/2022

No one does political rags to riches stories quite like Brazil, but even in a nation where the most celebrated president in decades once shined shoes to survive, the story of Erika Hilton takes some beating. The transgender teenager was kicked out of her house aged 14 and spent several years as a sex worker in rural Brazil before reconnecting with her mother and studying teaching and gerontology at university. After involving herself in student politics she moved to São Paulo and joined the leftwing PSOL party. In 2020 became the first trans person elected to the city council, Brazil’s largest. Now, she is running for Congress and seen as very likely to become the first trans member of the Brazilian parliament.

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