Aldo Dávila is expected to become the first openly gay Congressman in Guatemala. According to local media, Dávila has tentatively secured a seat for the Winaq party with over 80% of votes counted after Sunday’s national elections. One of the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s trainees, he could join Enrique Sánchez Carballo as one of the only two openly LGBTQ elected officials in Central America.
Guatemala saw a surge in the number of LGBTQ candidates this year, as four openly gay men ran for office. Dávila and Otto René Félix both ran for Congress, while José Carlos Hernández Ruano also won a seat at the Central American Parliament. Henry Cortez attempted to fill a seat in the Central American Parliament, Parlacen. This quadrupled the number of candidates compared to previous elections, when Sandra Morán, the first openly LGBTQ member of the Guatemalan Congress, was the only LGBTQ candidate.
Dávila will take the baton from Sandra Morán as the only LGBTQ member of Congress in Guatemala. Morán was a fierce advocate for LGBTQ, sexual and reproductive rights. Despite harsh criticism and constant threats, she introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and another bill to allow transgender people to change their names and gender markers.
Dávila added; “when discriminatory laws are hurting LGBTQ people, we realize the importance of having our voices heard in Congress and other institutions. That’s why it’ so important to participate and run for office.”
Morán told Victory Institute that Davila’s election keeps a voice for sexual minorities in Congress. “I hope we can collaborate and work together to continue the initiatives that I started,” she added.
LGBTQ Victory Institute has worked with partners, SOMOS CDC and REDNADS, in Central America since 2014, training over 50 people to become candidates. Dávila was one of Victory Institute’s trainees last year and was able to deepen the Institute’s knowledge of a successful campaign’s messaging, fundraising and volunteer management.