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Gahela Cari. Photo: Argentina Multicolor
Gahela Cari, Afro-Andean trans woman, candidate for Congress in Peru. Photo: Argentina Multicolor

Gahela Cari, the left-wing trans candidate who is changing Peruvian politics

Transfeminist candidate Gahela Cari has been fighting all her life against transphobic harassment and violence and is working to continue doing so from the…

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The general elections in Peru are just around the corner. After the country's social and political crisis at the end of 2020 and in the midst of the health crisis, the political scenario is still uncertain.

The faces are repeated every five years, except for some political figures who aim to renew the political class and put on the agenda needs and demands of historically silenced and invisibilized populations.

Gahela Cari is a transfeminist woman, Afro-Andean, migrant, social fighter, and left-wing activist. The candidate for Congress in Metropolitan Lima for the Juntos por el Perú party has been campaigning and working daily to become the first trans representative in the Peruvian Congress.

Among her proposals, the trans activist gives priority to two legislations that already exist in some countries in the region, but not yet in Peru: equal marriage and gender identity law.

But Gahela actively fights against all types of discrimination: "I have signed the Commitment for Equality: To promote and defend the rights of Afro-Peruvian, indigenous, people with disabilities and LGTBIQ community. Thanks to the Committee for Equality and Non-Discrimination for this important initiative," she said in networks, from where she does activism and campaigning.

Throughout her life and political career, Gahela has suffered discrimination because of her gender identity and origins.

The most recent transphobia and media situation has been perpetuated by the conservative candidate Frank Krklec, who came out in the media and in his broadcasting channels calling the transgender candidate by her legal name, without recognizing her identity.

Faced with this problem, Cari submitted a letter to the National Jury of Elections (JNE) demanding a sanction for the Renovación Popular candidate for transphobic political harassment. She publicly requested the creation of prevention measures to ensure respect and political participation of LGBTIQ+ people.

"I have faced a corrupt system all the time, and I have had to deal with violence and transphobia in the course of my life, but this has made me become a tremendously strong woman. I do not victimize myself when I denounce transphobia. What I do is to highlight what most trans people live in this country. I am also the one who has to raise my voice to defend human rights, of bodies and territories, in a context where women in politics end up being harassed, and not because of their proposals, but because of their genitals", says Gahela in an interview to El Gobierno newspaper.

Facing Peru's Bicentennial, Gahela Cari symbolizes an important turn in Peruvian politics, making trans and Afro-Andean representation from the state a reality. She challenges traditional politics and puts on the table the need to educate citizens from love and affection, to recognize the existence, and treat all people with respect.

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