Why not?: Brazilian transsexual volleyball star runs for Congress

Following a prolific career in international mens volleyball and just six years after completing her gender-reassignment surgery, Tifanny Abreu is hoping to become Brazils first transsexual MP.

Under a campaign slogan of “Why not?” the 33-year old has faced criticism from the LGBT community in her home country for choosing to run for the center-right conservative MBD party of incumbent President Michel Temer. “I don't give any importance to parties, but to people,” Abreu told the AFP.

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Você já parou pra pensar de onde vem o preconceito? ⠀ Como mulher trans jogando na superliga feminina de vôlei, ouvi muitas críticas, muitas delas embasadas, questionando a liberação médica que aprovou minha entrada. Mas boa parte delas foi e é por me ver num lugar onde eles não queriam me ver. ⠀ Afinal, o que resta a mulher trans? Se entregar nas garras da prostituição, e nem à luz do dia deveríamos sair, como se esse destino fosse o único para nós, como uma forma de punição por sermos quem somos? ⠀ CHEGA. Nós temos voz. Nós temos direitos. "Mas você não pode ocupar esse lugar!". Verdade? POR QUE NÃO? ⠀ Dia 07 de outubro, vote pela representatividade. Vote pelo respeito. Vote Tifanny 1570, por que não? ⠀ #TifannyAbreu #TifannyAbreu10 #Tifanny #TA10 #TifannyFederal #PqNão? #votelgbt #voteconsciente #Eleições2018 #Eleicoes2018 #DeputadaFederal #voleibolgay #fimdopreconceito #preconceitonao #lgbt #lgbtqi #superligadadiversidade #amor #somostodosiguais #juntossomosmaisfortes

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Abreus volleyball club is sponsored by industries linked to the conservative MBD party, the AFP reports.

Following extensive hormone treatment and several surgeries in Europe in 2012, Abreu became the first transsexual to play in Brazils Superliga, the top-flight competition for womens volleyball in the country, after a decade in mens professional volleyball.

“When they offered to bring me back to Brazil, many people advised me to stay in Europe because of discrimination, but thank God things are starting to change,” Abreu said.

“I wanted to make my transition when I was 12 or 13-years old, because even from childhood, I knew I was a woman. But I lacked information, guidance and above all, hospitals where I could get the operation done.”

Abreus return to competition was greeted by uproar from Superliga players who said it was unfair, including Brazils Olympic bronze medalist from the Atlanta 1996 games, Ana Paula Henkel.

“It's not a question of prejudice, but physiology,” Henkel, also a conservative, posted on Twitter, as cited by AFP. “Her body was built with testosterone all her life.”

However, ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016, the International Olympic Committee rules were changed to allow trans athletes to compete in womens competitions provided they controlled their testosterone levels. Abreu hopes to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.

READ MORE: Gay sex decriminalized in India in historic Supreme Court verdict

A total of 53 of the candidates running in the October 7 elections are transgender, the vast majority of whom represent left-leaning parties. Brazil struggles with gender discrimination and violence, with the highest rate of trans murders in the world last year, at 179.

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