Ms. Galcerán’s appointment has been identified as a “significant step” and an example of “real inclusion.”
Mar Galcerán has achieved a milestone by securing a position in Valencia’s regional assembly, located in the country’s eastern region. Notably, she is believed to be the inaugural individual with a genetic disorder to be elected to a European regional or national parliament, breaking down prevailing prejudices in society, especially those surrounding people with Down syndrome.
Mar Galcerán’s Political Odyssey
The 45 year old, Ms. Galcerán has been engaged in the political sphere since the age of 18, aligning herself with Spain’s conservative People’s Party. She wanted to be recognised as an individual, not a person with a disability, as reported by The Guardian. She also stated: “society is starting to see that people with Down’s syndrome have a lot to contribute.”
The announcement of her appointment has garnered affirmative reactions from fellow politicians and advocates. Carlos Mazón, President of the Regional Government of Valencia, expressed on social media: “Great news for politics, overcoming barriers.” Agustin Matia Amor from Down Espana, a Down’s syndrome organisation in Spain, hailed it as “a huge step forward and an example of real inclusion.”
In 2020, Eleonore Laloux became the first person with a genetic disorder in France to be elected as a city council member, while Fintan Bray made history in Ireland in 2022.
What exactly is Down’s syndrome?
Down’s syndrome is a congenital genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21, signifying that it is present from birth and not acquired later in life.
It’s crucial to emphasize that, unlike diseases or illnesses, Down’s syndrome is not transmissible. The impact of Down’s syndrome on learning ability and physical health varies among individuals.
As an estimate, around 60,000 people in the UK are thought to be living with Down’s syndrome.