Mexican President apologises for calling trans lawmaker a ‘man dressed as a woman’

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has issued an apology after misgendering a trans federal lawmaker and referring to them as a “man dressed as a woman.”

When he made the comment, the political leader had been referring to Salma Luevano, one of the state’s first transgender legislators.

Obrador met with Luevano, a representative of his own political party, at a public event over the weekend. 

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has apologised for misgendering a trans lawmaker in his party. (Getty Images)

The next day, the president responded to journalist Joaquín López-Dóriga, who questioned why he had greeted Luevano with a kiss on the cheek, Reuters reports. In response, Obrador offered the explanation that Luevano was a “man dressed as a woman.”

After facing backlash on social media for his comment, Obrador issued a public apology during a press conference on Tuesday (9 January), telling reporters: “I want to start… by offering an apology to a colleague who identifies as a woman and that yesterday I spoke about being a man dressed as a woman. I am very respectful and I believe in freedom, and people should assume anyone as is identified.”

In response, Luevano took to social media to acknowledge the president’s apology.

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She wrote: “Today the president @lopezobrador_ offered me an apology for making a bad generalization. This declaration is very important because it makes visible a fight that has taken us decades

“I am a trans woman and that is not up for discussion.”

In a separate tweet, Luevano criticised López-Dóriga for over-analysing the president’s interaction with her in the first place.

“The president @lopezobrador_ knows that I am a TRANS woman and there is also great mutual respect,” she tweeted.

“From what I see in your case @lopezdoriga your STUPID IGNORANCE and filthy brain make you believe that everyone is of your condition. PHOBIAS reflect fear and insecurity, DON’T FORGET.”

During Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s time in office, which began in 2018, Mexico introduced its first passports with non-binary gender markers, marking what they called a “great leap” for freedom of expression.

Introducing the passports in May 2023, foreign minister Marcelo Brared assured citizens: “We endorse our support for sexual diversity. 

“All rights must be guaranteed for all identities. No more hate speech – diversity enriches and flourishes.”

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