Target: Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil
Goal: End discrimination against transgender models
Transgender models have risen to widespread popularity in a nation that has become equally prominent in the fashion world. These individuals, few in number considering the scope of Brazil’s fashion industry, have been making major gains in reducing hostility toward the transgender community and raising awareness to their right to complete gender expression. Yet, the increasing social acceptance of transgender models in the fashion community belies the undercurrents of discrimination driven by the country’s still strong conservative and frequently religious forces. That uneven spread of social acceptance reflects a history of progress truncated by the nation’s political turns, military dictatorships which blocked gay rights movements of the 1960s through the 1980s. Raise your voice to contribute to a different history, one in which models are judged by their talent and skill, rather than their sexuality.
Despite Brazil’s incorporation of activities like cross-dressing into time-honored traditions like Carnival, or even the country’s support of gay rights, persistent discrimination continues to undermine legal protections for the transgender community. Tragically, gender-based violence toward the community remains high, correlating to a reported three hundred and thirty eight killings a year according to a major civil rights group, Grupo Gay de Bahia.
Given that a country’s cultural norms take time to change, the leadership transgender models are demonstrating presents a key opportunity to spark a change. By signing the petition below, you can fight for the rights of all persons to express their gender freely.
Dear President Rousseff,
I am writing in regards to an issue of human rights concerning transgender models in Brazil’s fashion industry. Although a select few have succeeded in raising awareness of the impact of gender-based prejudice, discrimination against the transgender community in the fashion industry, highly visible targets for this kind of abuse, continues to make for a hostile and even dangerous environment for these individuals.
I urge you to build off of the leadership transgender models like Carol Marra are demonstrating and use this opportunity to spark positive change. By bringing these sensitive, taboo topics to the light, you can help set an example for the protection of the right to gender expression worldwide.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Annie Jackson via Wikimedia Commons