Dandara Rudsan: Amazonian Lawyer/Activist Spotlight

Look to the work of Amazonian lawyer and activist Dandara Rudsan to understand the importance of arm-in-arm organizing in marginalized environments and bodies:

“Dandara Rudsan is a Black and trans activist from Altamira, in the Brazilian state of Pará. She currently serves as an environmental racism specialist in the Public Defender’s Office of Pará State. Rudsan says her activism began when she realized the invisibility of Amazonian bodies, particularly LGBTIQ+ Amazonian bodies.”

“’For the thirteenth time, Brazil leads the global ranking of trans people murdered. Imagine if trans women from the Amazon rainforest, who are invisible, were counted?’ says Rudsan. ‘Visibility is linked to our survival.’”

“Rudsan says that while she celebrates the Brazilian Supreme Court’s 2019 decision to uphold the criminalization of homophobia and transphobia, continued and collective work is needed for true healing. ‘When I talk about collective work, it is not only among LGBTIQ+ people,’ says Rudsan. ‘A very solid alliance between trans and cisgender women is strengthening our work, and, together, we can work on tools for the defense of life.'”

On April 5, 2022, Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice ruled that the Maria da Penha Law offering legal protection to victims of domestic violence also applies to transgender women. Rudsan is quoted in the Brazilian newspaper, Brasil de Fato, celebrating the news, calling it the first path to a permanent law.

“The entire Judiciary now from the lower courts, from the higher instances will start to dialogue, to ponder their decisions, to ponder their referral, because before it was a direct path of denial. Now we are no longer on this direct path of denial, which has to stop, which is not mandatory, but it forces us to stop and reflect. It forces the Judiciary to stop and reflect on itself”.

Read the complete Medium UN Women article (May 14, 2021) here and Brasil de Fato piece here (April 11, 2022).


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