Rubí, an LGBTQ politician
Personality of the month
By Jade Arroyo
Rubí is the name freely chosen for herself by the transgender woman born into a typical family from Guanajuato with the name of Jose Luis Suárez Araujo.
Rubí Suárez Araujo shot to fame on March 10, after becoming the first transgender councilwoman in Mexico.
Rubí is a council member for the PRD party in the state of Guanajuato. Ironically, her opportunity to move into a public position came about when she was chosen to replace a misogynist. She replaced PRD deputy Julio Cesar García Sánchez, who had asked for time off after being criminally charged for beating and threatening his ex-girlfriend.
During her swearing in, the 29-year councilwoman said: “I am proud to be the first member of a council accepting my sexual preferences and freely acknowledging my gender. I am the first representative of the LGBTQ community in the municipality, making this a watershed in the political and social life of the state of Guanajuato.”
Visibility and representation in public office is a big step for the LGBTQ community to gain ground on equal rights and move away from labels and any kind of discrimination, including at work and school. “The gay community also pays taxes, and we have rights, like all others.”
During her appointment, Rubí was accompanied by members of the LGBTQ community who waved a rainbow flag from the window. Her speech-making has been widespread protest across all media: radio, TV news, newspapers, digital magazines, and blogs. In addition, her story has flooded social networks, provoking strong reactions from society. There has been a supportive and progressive approach from many people, while others have expressed their rejection and indignation.
The fact is that this is a real step forward in the legislature; it made progress in coexistence and acceptance of human diversity. In her first speech, Rubí called on the state governor, Miguel Márquez Márquez, and local deputies to legislate in favor of the gay community, recognizing their rights and obligations as members of society, and to show willingness to achieve approval of equal marriage in Guanajuato and the right of adoption.
Politics was not the way that Rubí originally expected to go, but she was drifting toward opportunities to follow her activism and her social needs. For nine years, Rubí was involved in and worked for the gay community after a hate crime to a friend was registered in the capital of Guanajuato.
She founded a civil association called Colectivo Rucí Ayudar in the defense of human rights of the gay community, providing consulting, sexual education, and prevention of violence. It is the leading association in Guanajuato where people can go for completely free HIV testing.
This association is recognized by the large annual parade for equality and gender equality, the first one organized for the rights of the gay community in the state.
In 2016 they held the fourth parade, in which 2,000 people participated, including locals, those from other parts of the state, and other activists in the country. The theme of the march was Mexican costumes. According to Rubí, it is something that profoundly affects the gay community in Guanajuato living in poverty and marginalization. Recalling her own adolescence, she noticed how young people feel trapped in a system that does not recognize and tries constantly to suppress them, leading to depression and often to drugs or suicide. She emphasizes that it is very important to have representation in the institutions and seek community activities as a path to coexistence and social cohesion.
One of her strongest political proposals is to update the name change process, so that all transgender people can freely choose their names, a cornerstone in the development of identity.
For Rubí, gender always was clear. “Since I can remember, I always knew there was a woman inside me, but I did not express it for fear of social rejection. At age 12 I decided to introduce myself as a girl.
The process of acceptance with her family was long and painful, but she says she now has their full support. Rubí lives with a stable partner of nine years and says it is a happy relationship, accepted by their parents and siblings.
When meeting her, Rubí strikes you as a very warm person, owner of great charm and sweetness. By the way, Rubí is almost 6 feet tall and often presents herself in the town hall dressed in tailored suits and high heels, long loose hair flowing.
“I will not rest until I make necessary improvements for the women and family work. I am the result of a great woman and my commitment is to defend the rights of women.”
She claims to be someone interested in defending the social rights of all, finding a place where autonomy, equality, and freedom are the common flag.