Ecuador: Former Sex Worker, First Trans Woman Elected to Ecuador's Natl. Assembly, Paves Way for Others

She lost the support of her family at age 16. And then turned to sex work for survival. But Diane (she likes to pronounce her name in three syllables: Di-a-ne) Rodríguez did not expect to make history years later as the first trans woman elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly.

“Being a public figure comes at a price,” Rodríguez, who is now also a psychologist, told NBC News; she has recently received death threats as a legislator. “But I see that cost is a sacrifice for younger generations so that they don’t have to suffer the same experiences that I have to suffer through now.”

Her experience of being discriminated against as a trans woman has motivated her on a lifelong journey from activism to politics.

Born Luis Benedicto, Rodríguez has defended LGBTI rights for a decade. But even though she has spearheaded campaigns as an activist to push for legal rights and greater equality, she said that many actions were stalled without political leadership. Read more via NBC