Bolivia's first transgender news anchor puts LGBTQ issues front and center

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Leonie Dorado, 26, is blazing a trail as the first transgender news anchor in Bolivia, a traditionally conservative South American nation currently in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dorado, the new co-host of Bolivian program Aby Ayala TV, covers LGBTQ issues in her role, drawing on her own transition and life experience as a trans person.

“The transition took me four years,” said Dorado, who as a child was called Bernardo. “In the end, I was not in the wrong body, I was looking for the way I wanted to project my life.”

TV broadcasting wasn’t always in Dorado’s plans. As a child, she showed promise as a piano player, and eventually pursued singing. She is currently working toward a degree in modern music in Bolivia’s National Conservatory of Music.

She was offered the TV job in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and did not hesitate to accept the opportunity to be a voice for trans people.

Dorado, whose family was supportive of her transition, decided it was time to open up about her experience publicly with the aim of helping others in Bolivia’s LGBTQ community.

“The LGBT community is a group of millions of people who demand human rights, labor rights, rights to have their lives respected,” Dorado said. “That is what has moved me to be part of this project.”

In her new role, Dorado focuses on trans rights and issues, particularly health and labor. She is also writing a book to encourage others with her personal motto: “Make peace with your body, put your health first, bet on your dreams and be happy.”

Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Dan Grebler