Rihanna Ferrera participated in the 2016 Leadership Academy and was the first openly trans woman to run for Honduran Congress in November 2017.
Victory Institute and our partner in Honduras, SOMOS CDC, have launched applications to the second edition of the “LGBTI Political Leadership Academy in Central America.” In 2016, 22 trainees from all over Central America graduated from the first edition of the academy. This year, approximately 30 participants from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua will participate in a 4-module training from September 2018 – January 2019. The training series will close with a Central American regional forum on the importance of diverse political participation.
Why have a leadership training in Central America? The LGBTQ population in the region faces disturbingly high levels of violence. In order to advance towards equality and reduce levels of violence, it is essential to strengthen the capacities of LGBTQ leaders to interact with the State institutions and work within the system to facilitate change. This training series will strengthen the leadership skills of participants to allow them to create a more fluid dialogue with political institutions and place the needs of the LGBTQ population on the region’s agenda. Many of them aspire to run for office and this will serve as an opportunity to prepare them for that journey.
The existence of openly LGBTQ elected leaders in the region not only secures a voice in the room where decisions are made, but also provides positive role models for young LGBTQ people. This past year in Honduras, 6 openly LGBTQ people, all Victory Institute trainees, ran for office as compared to zero in the previous elections. Leadership development opportunities like these continue to support more members of our community to build the skill set to run for office and become elected. The deadline to apply is June 17!