Colombia just made history by electing ‘incorruptible’ lesbian as capital city’s mayor

Columbia international women's day

A lesbian who describes herself as “incorruptible” has been elected as mayor of Bogotá in Colombia.

Claudia Lopez – who is a member of Colombia’s Green Alliance party – was elected with around 35 percent of the vote, BBC News reports.

She beat liberal rival Carlos Fernando Galán, who received 32.5 percent of the votes. Her election makes her Bogotá’s first female and gay mayor.

Election win marks ‘day of girls, young people, women, families’, lesbian mayor Claudia Lopez said.

Writing on Twitter after her victory, Lopez said: “Today was the day of girls, young people, women, families like yours and mine!”

She also thanked her competitors in the race, saying the city will rely on them as “extraordinary citizens and leaders”.

“As we said during the campaign: We will unite Bogotá, we will make a government for everyone, not just for those who trusted us.”

Lopez was photographed kissing her partner Angélica Lozano Correa following her victory.

Today was the day of girls, young people, women, families like yours and mine!

The former journalist is well-known in Colombia for her outspoken stance against right-wing politicians and for her campaigning for better policies around climate change.

She has also had significant involvement in anti-corruption efforts in Colombia.

Claudia Lopez following her victory as mayor of Bogotá

Lesbian mayor of Bogotá Claudia Lopez in Columbia (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty)

Lopez previously ran in the 2018 vice-presidential election. The 49-year-old is a former Senator in Colombia.

The position of mayor of Bogotá is considered the second most important political position in the country after the president.

Lopez is one of few lesbian politicians in Colombia.

Arlene Tickner, political science professor at Rosario University, told Al Jazeera that Lopez’s election is “historic”.

“She will be the first woman and the first openly-gay politician to occupy the second most important elected office in Colombia, and her long-standing fight against corruption will hopefully create a battle cry that other like-minded elected officials throughout Colombia can join,” she said.

Lopez is one of very few lesbian politicians in Colombia. Her partner Lozano Correa is also a Green Alliance politician.

Her election comes just six years after she was briefly forced to flee Colombia after she conducted research on paramilitary activities in politics in the country.

In August 2018, she attempted to pass a citizen-driven anti-corruption bill. While the bill did not pass, her anti-corruption work is thought to have helped her win over many voters.

LGBT+ rights in Colombia have progressed significantly in recent decades. In 2011, a law was passed that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 2016 same-sex marriage was legalised.

Despite this, LGBT+ people in Colombia can continue to face violence. 109 LGBT+ people were reported as murdered in the country in 2017 and 108 were killed in the year before.