The lawyer and activist Michelle Suarez will be Uruguay's first transgender senator, assuming the position as a substitute for Communist Party Senator Marcos Carambula.
Suarez, who was also Uruguay's first transgender lawyer, graduated from law school in 2010 and was an active participant in drafting Uruguay's equal marriage law, which was passed and approved in 2013.
She is also a militant activist in and legal adviser for the organization Ovejas Negras (Black Sheep), which is an organization fighting for LGBT rights.
In 2014 she became entered Uruguay's national politics within the leading coalition, Frente Amplio, and was elected as a substitute senator for the Communist Party of Uruguay.
Assuming the powers of senator on October 10th of 2017, she plans to elevate the level of debate and action for LGBT rights within the Senate. Her first priority is to bring forward the draft of the Comprehensive Trans Act, which she co-authored. The law has the “objective of guaranteeing the rights of trans persons of all ages, of diverse sexual orientations and socio-economic conditions.”
The law is currently being reviewed by the Commission on Population, Development and Inclusion of the Senate.
Colette Richard, an activist from the LGTBI community, told EFE that the legislation has several "thematic centers" covering education, job placement and access to health services.
Richard said the most important aspect of the law was that "it speaks of transsexual people without considering it as a pathology."
Uruguay's trans community, which is about 900 individuals according to the last census, still faces many societal and economic difficulties. Discrimination often makes stable and sufficient employment difficult to impossible to find, pushing many into sex work.