Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Advocates for Transgender Rights

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaking for SAVE on behalf of transgender rights.
Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaking for SAVE on behalf of transgender rights. She is pushing for transgender rights because her son, Rodrigo, is a YouTube

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By Brian Latimer

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the first Cuban-American and Latina elected to Congress, released a public service announcement defending transgender rights, which features her trans male son Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen.

While sitting at her kitchen table, Ros-Lehtinen introduced her husband and her son, showing that their family remains united after Rodrigo's transition. Ros-Lehtinen said she loves and accepts her son in an effort to show that support for transgender individuals begins in the home.

"Every transgender person is part of someone's family and should be treated with compassion and protected from discrimination," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Family is about acceptance and love. All of our children should have the opportunity to work hard, earn a living and take responsibility for their lives on the same terms as everyone else."

Ros-Lehtinen and her husband, Dexter Lehtinen, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, released two PSAs, one in English and the other in Spanish, to convey the universal message that "Family is Everything."

Monday night the Ros-Lehtinen and her family spoke at Miami Dade College on behalf of SAVE, South Florida's leading organization advancing rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Floridians.

"Gender identity and changes in gender identity don't change the person in terms of their character in terms of their integrity, in terms of their work ethic," Dexter Lehtinen said to Miami Dade College Monday night. He did not finish the sentence because he began tearing up.

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