In the opening ceremonies, transgender Brazilian supermodel Leandra Medeiros Cerezo, better known as Lea T, led Team Brazil. According to the Huffington Post, it’s the first time and openly transgender woman has had a role in an Olympic 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. “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.”
It was an especially significant moment for Brazil, which faces some of the highest reported violence against transgender people of any country in the world.
According to Transgender Europe‘s “Trans Murder Monitoring Map,” more than 500 transgender people were murdered in Brazil between 2011 and 2015. And in just the first 26 days of 2016, 57 murders were reported.
Two transgender athletes are reportedly competing in the Rio Olympics, but their identities are not know.
Watch the vide below to learn more about transgender athletes and the Olympics.