Michelle Suárez Bértora
Michelle Suárez Bértora
|Years active||2010 –|
|Term||2014 – 2017 (resigned)|
|Political party||Frente Amplio|
Michelle Suárez Bértora (born 21 February 1983) is a Uruguayan activist, lawyer, lecturer, politician, and writer. She is Uruguay's first transgender university graduate, first trans lawyer, and first transgender person elected to office.
Michelle Suárez Bértora was born 21 February 1983 in Salinas, Canelones Department, Uruguay. She transitioned at the age of 15 with the support of her mother. Studious, she followed her dream and became an attorney. Suárez went to primary and secondary school in Salinas before entering university in 2004. After six years of study, and a legal transition to allow her to graduate with her proper gender, Suárez earned her doctorate. She was the first (and only) trans-woman to become a lawyer in Uruguay graduating in 2010 from the University of the Republic as the first transgender person to complete university studies in the country. In 2014, she also became the first transgender person elected to the Uruguayan legislature.
Suárez is a member of, and the legal adviser to, the organization "Ovejas Negras" (Black Sheep), an LGBT rights organization. She joined in 2010, shortly after the death of her mother. Working was cathartic for dealing with her grief and she immediately set out to draft the equal marriage proposal, which was presented to Congress in 2011. The bill initially passed the Senate in 2012 and after review by the judicial committee received final approval in 2013.
Suárez is also a body-image activist. Constantly asked about her obesity, she recognizes that women must follow a rigid aesthetic. She says it is sometimes even more of a struggle for transgender individuals, as multiple minorities. The stereotype of young, "modelish," and eternally beautiful in Suárez's view is absurd and oppressive for all women.
Suarez's belief is that prejudices must be addressed by legal standards which are substantive and accompanied by public debate. She has written a book to address implementation of human rights for those who have difficulties because of their orientation or gender identity.
Suarez was sworn into the Uruguayan senate in October 2017, becoming the first transgender senator in the nation's history. In December 2017, Suarez resigned her seat in the senate after she was found guilty in a criminal investigation of forging legal documents while working as an attorney.
- Formoso, Sofía (9 February 2015). "Michelle Suárez: La primera abogada trans de Uruguay" (in Spanish). Uruguay: Sin Etiquetas. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Landarín, Wenceslao (15 March 2011). "Ser transexual y no morir en el intento" (in Spanish). Salto, Uruguay: Diario El Pueblo. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Primera abogada trans de Uruguay" (in Spanish). Montevideo, Uruguay: Portal 180. August 11, 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Vaz, Gabriela (22 August 2010). "Yo decidí no marginarme" (in Spanish). Montevideo, Uruguay: El Pais. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Entrevista a la doctora Michelle Suárez Bértora, primera egresada trans de la Universidad de la República". Ministerio de Desarrollo Social Unidad de Información y Comunicación (in Spanish). Montevideo, Uruguay: Government of Uruguay. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Michelle Suárez: "it is a sad honor being the first" trans in Parliament" (in Spanish). Montevideo, Uruguay: El Observador. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Michelle Suárez: "10 años atrás era impensable" (in Spanish). Uruguay: Elecodigital. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Suárez, Michelle (2012). Hacia una Igualdad Sustantiva (in Spanish). Uruguay: Mujer y Salud. Retrieved 30 March 2015.