Donna Milo, a Cuban-American, conservative Republican is running to replace a Democrat, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Milo is not your average Congressional candidate and is an especially surprising candidate for a Republican Congressional seat. Milo is a transgender woman.
Why is a transgender woman running as a Republican? There are certainly more aspects of politics than LGBT rights, and Milo has a wide range of conservative beliefs. But is it a conflict for someone in the LGBT community to run for Congress as a Republican?
Of course, there is nothing wrong with someone in the LGBT community being a part of the Republican party. Someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity only relates to one aspect of political beliefs — LGBT equality. Transgender people face many challenges and are often misunderstood by the general public, and Milo should relate to these challenges. As someone who has experienced life as a transgender person firsthand, Milo should support equal rights for LGBT people, whether running as a Republican or Democrat.
That’s why it’s surprising that Milo is not just running as a Republican, but she’s also opposed to certain policies when it comes equal rights for LGBT people, including marriage equality. Given her situation, her beliefs seem a little contradictory. Milo herself has been married, in what many would consider a gay marriage. Why is gay marriage acceptable in her personal life, but not good enough for others?
At age 19 and before transitioning, Milo married her high school girlfriend, Isabel. They have two children, who are now 25 and 22 years old. Many people — and the Florida government — would consider this a heterosexual marriage, since Milo had not yet come out as transgender or transitioned. But as a transgender person, one would expect Donna to realize that gender identity is more meaningful than biological sex. If Donna’s true self is acknowledged, she was already part of a gay marriage. And if Donna Milo ever wanted to remarry, Florida law would only allow her to marry another woman.
One would expect that a transgender Republican Congressional candidate could show that Republicans can support equality, too. But Milo has seemingly turned her back on the LGBT community. She is resting on the privileges she’s had to get married, go through the transition process, and live as a transgender woman, without helping other LGBT people who want the same for themselves.
Photo credit: Abeeeer