“RIO DE JANEIRO — Barbara Aires, who was assigned male at birth, says she spent much of her childhood on the streets, because her father — a military man from the conservative state of Minas Gerais — refused to accept her gender identity.
By her late teenage years, Aires was taking hormones to transition to a woman and, because she couldn’t find other employment, working as a prostitute — the fate of many transgender people who are shunned by much of Brazilian society.
Today, Aires is running to be a state representative in Rio de Janeiro, aiming to help other trans people avoid the same fate she suffered and be a voice for other marginalized people.
‘When all you have are rich, white men discussing policies, things will never improve for the majority of people,’ said Aires, 35, a freelance television producer who is part of the left-leaning Socialism and Liberty Party.
Aires is one of 53 transgender candidates running for state and federal offices in Brazil…”