Trans supermodel Lea T makes history in Rio

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A woman on a bicycle leads the Brazil delegation during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, 2016. / AFP / Leon NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Lea T made history on Friday night at the opening of the Rio 2016 Olympics as she literally pedalled towrads LGBT+ visibility. The famed supermodel, full name Leandra Medeiros Cerezo, cycled out in Rio with the Brazilian athletes behind her. It had previously been expected that she would join fellow supermodel Gisele in a tribute to ‘The Girl from Ipanema’, but her role in the opening was smaller than anticipated.

This aside, she still made history as the first out trans woman to hold a role in an Olympic opening ceremony. “We are all human beings and we are part of society. My role at the ceremony will help send this message, ” Cerezo told BBC Brazil before the ceremony. “At this time, in which Rio de Janeiro and Brazil will be presented to the world, it’s essential that diversity is present. Brazil is a vast country and all its diversity should be somehow represented in this event.” Of the revelation in January that trans athletes would be allowed to compete without undergoing gender surgery, the model added: “[The revisions are] undoubtedly a step forward, but unfortunately there seems no transgender athletes who have qualified for this year’s Games. Nevertheless, it is a hope for the community and a way of inclusion.”

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