Diana Zurco is Argentina’s first out transgender newscaster.
The 40-year-old reporter achieved this milestone Monday when she began serving as co-anchor at Public Television’s evening news program.
Zurco told the Associated Press that her “presence challenges society.”
“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,'” she said.
Legislatively, Argentina is a world leader in transgender rights. In 2012, the Latin American nation passed a law that cleared hurdles for trans people seeking a name change and gender-confirmation procedures.
However, anti-trans discrimination and violence remain an issue in Argentina. According to its National Observatory of Hate Crimes, 2017 marked a spike in recorded hate crimes against LGBTQ people (102), with trans people bearing the brunt at 58 percent.
Before becoming a reporter, Zurco once considered making a living as a sex worker before turning to hairdressing. In 2012, the year Argentina passed its landmark law, she completed an exam and began a course to train in becoming an anchor.
It was her abilities, not her identity, that landed her the spot at Public Television, said Rosario Lufrano, Radio and Television Argentina’s president.
“We didn’t look for Diana because she was a trans announcer. We looked for her because she was a very good professional,” Lufrano told the AP. “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.”
As for Zurco, she hopes her platform as a news anchor “will let prejudiced society begin to see that trans people are like everyone else.”