Trailblazing Brazilian trans lawmakers face more conservative Congress


Erika Hilton, a 29-year-old Sao Paulo city council member, just made history as one of the first two transgender lawmakers elected this week to Brazil’s Congress. But the victory is bittersweet, Hilton said, after a stronger-than-expected showing by President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies in Sunday’s general election consolidated a robust right-wing coalition among her future colleagues, who she said have voiced transphobic sentiments. “I’m concerned about the composition of Congress right now and the possibility of Bolsonaro’s re-election,” said Hilton, whose religious parents threw her out of the house at 14, leaving her to work for several years as a sex worker. Bolsonaro and his leftist challenger, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, both fell short of an outright majority on Sunday, so they will face off in an Oct. 30 runoff vote.

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