Washington, DC – Yesterday Erika Hilton (she/her) in São Paulo and Duda Salabert (she/her) in Minas Gerais won their elections to the Brazilian Congress, making them the first trans people ever elected to Congress in the country’s history. Despite ongoing anti-LGBTQ hate perpetuated by the Bolsonaro administration, a record number of out LGBTQ people ran for Congress this year in Brazil – over 300 – including record number of trans people. With yesterday’s results, LGBTQ representation in Brazil will double from 9 to 18 elected officials, 16 of whom are women.
Alhelí Partida, Director of Global Programs at LGBTQ Victory Institute, released the following statement about the election:
“Brazil’s LGBTQ community – and trans community in particular – has never had equitable representation in government. But with a record number of LGBTQ candidates running this year, it is clear that LGBTQ leaders are stepping up to make change from within the halls of power. Erika and Duda showed true courage in their campaigns for Congress, running during a time of increased homophobia and transphobia at the hands of President Bolsonaro and his followers. Their success is not just a sharp rebuke to these bigots, but a beacon of hope to Brazil’s vibrant LGBTQ community.
“While we hope their success is a sign of better days, Brazil remains an incredibly tough place to engage as an out leader – where homophobia, transphobia, death threats and worse are common. In 2018, we lost one of our own, Rio de Janeiro Councilwoman Marielle Franco, assassinated by anti-LGBTQ and anti-women attackers. While her loss continues to be devastating, she has become an icon and the fuel needed to inspire more courageous LGBTQ Brazilians to raise their voices.”
In preparation for the 2022 election cycle in Brazil, LGBTQ Victory Institute and #VoteLGBT held two trainings to support LGBTQ candidates. In total, there were 63 participants, 28 of whom ran for office this year – including three trans women who ran for Congress. #VoteLGBT, Victory Institute, Equal Rights in Action Fund and Google also released “The State of Brazilian LGBT+ Politics: Between Power and Obliteration” this year, the first analysis of LGBTQ politics and political power in Brazil.
LGBTQ Victory Institute
LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Global Programs work to increase the political participation of LGBTQ people to advance equality across the globe. This work includes training LGBTQ leaders and aspiring candidates, implementing voter education and civic engagement initiatives, and conducting research on the climate of LGBTQ political participation.