Argentine First transgender News Anchor
By: DEBORA REY Associated Press
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Diana Zurco did not attend her high school graduation because she refused to receive a diploma with her birth name. At 17 and considered a boy by school officials, she grew her hair long and adopted the name Diana after the alien character on the show “V” about an extraterrestrial invasion.
Now 40, she recalled her youthful rebellion while sitting in a comfortable chair in the studio of Argentina's public television station ahead of her debut as the country’s first transgender newscaster, a milestone for an excluded community that is often the target of violence and has a life expectancy roughly half that of the rest of the population.
“My presence challenges society,” she said in the smooth voice of a professional announcer that she used on Monday when she began her job as co-anchor of Public Television's prime time evening news program.
"It is an invitation to society that says: 'This is me; behind me there are more people like me who want to express themselves. We are capable, we can study, we can train ourselves, we can communicate to you what is happening in our country,'" Zurco told The Associated Press in an interview.
The government estimates Argentina has between 12,000 and 13,000 transgender adults out of a population that exceeds 44 million.
“It is a small group and ordinary people don’t know a trans firsthand. This lack of connection in daily life fuels prejudice and discrimination,” said Esteban Paulón, executive director of the Institute for LGBT+ Public Policies.
Zurco’s presence as a newscaster "will let prejudiced society begin to see that trans people are like everyone else," the activist said.
We didn’t look for Diana because she was a trans announcer. We looked for her because she was a very good professional,” said Rosario Lufrano, president of Radio and Television Argentina. “The only way to get there is to have the doors opened for you. We all know how difficult it is for these women to win a spot.
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