A transgender couple in Ecuador is making history with a unique pregnancy. The soon-to-be father is bearing the baby of his transgender partner.
Fernando Machado and Diane Rodriguez are thought to be the first transgender parents in South America, reports The Associated Press. The couple announced the pregnancy on social media in early December and it has since become viral in Latin America and spurred questions of the rights of trans people.
Rodriguez, who was born Luis and lives in Guayaquil, is one of Ecuador's most renowned LGBT activists and says she and her Venezuelan-born partner, who’s birth name is Maria, wanted to announce the pregnancy to the public in an effort to change attitudes in the conservative Roman Catholic society.
Although both partners take hormones, neither has had gender-reassignment surgery, so the baby was conceived traditionally, with no known medical difficulties.
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"We're trying to break the myths about transsexuality," Rodriguez told AP.
Religious leaders have so far stayed quiet about the issue, which both shocked and pleased Rodriguez.
"The church is always criticizing gays and homosexuals for adopting children, so it would be a contradiction to criticize us for giving birth naturally," she said.
The transgender community has been making major strides throughout Latin America. Six months ago, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos delivered a ruling that allow persons to alter their gender on the national ID cards with no more effort than a trip to a public notary. Since then, more than 340 people have asked for a change.
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Argentina has gone further with its legislature promising free hormone treatment and reassignment surgery.
Transgender people still face pervasive intolerance in South America According to a study by the International AIDS Alliance, between 2008 and 2011, 79 percent of the reported murders of trans people throughout the globe happened in the Latin region, with a total of 664 cases.