• Ecuadorean men and women line up separately to vote, which has previously caused distress to the trans community. (Facebook/Diane Rodriguez)Source: Facebook/Diane Rodriguez
Politician and activist Diane Rodriguez is also expected to be the country’s first transgender woman elected to the national assembly.
Michaela Morgan

22 Feb 2017 - 12:19 PM  UPDATED 22 Feb 2017 - 12:19 PM

The Ecuadorean presidential election took place on Sunday and for the first time, transgender people were able to vote according to the gender they identify with.

In Ecuador, men and women line up separately in order to cast their ballots—a convention that has caused distress to the transgender community in the past.

"The rumors would start, and the looks," LGBT activist Mariasol Mite told Reuters.

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"This year, everything was different," Mite added.

Ecuador passed a law last year that allows trans people to choose the gender they identify with on official identity cards.

Politician and trans activist Diane Rodriguez says approximately 200 people have changed their gender since the legislation was passed.

“This is very important because our rights are being recognised. It hasn’t been easy,” says Rodriguez.

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She is also expected to become the first transgender woman to win a seat in the Ecuador National Assembly.

Rodriguez is a member of the left-leaning Movimiento Alianza PAIS—the party led by outgoing President Rafael Correa—says she hopes to work on legislation to protect transgender students from bullying.

Rodriguez made headlines last year when she and her partner Fernando Machado became the country’s first trans couple to have a baby.