Victory Institute Announces Annual Award Recipients

Washington, DC – Today LGBTQ Victory Institute announced that Maine Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau will receive the 2021 Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award and Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila will receive the 2021 Global Trailblazer Award. Both recipients will receive the honor and award at the International LGBTQ Leaders Conference from December 1 – 4 in Washington, DC. Both recipients were nominated and then voted for by Victory Institute supporters.

The Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award is given to a rising star in U.S. politics who has spent their career fighting for LGBTQ equality.  First elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2014 when he was only 21, Speaker Fecteau is now the first out LGBTQ speaker of the Maine House and the youngest presiding officer in America. A longtime advocate for pro-equality legislation, Speaker Fecteau successfully banned conversion therapy in the state. His other legislative priorities include expanding affordable housing options, championing career and technical education opportunities, and pushing for solutions to Maine’s childcare challenges. He recently shared his own coming out story in the Bangor Daily News.

The Global Trailblazer Award honors the service and perseverance of an international LGBTQ elected official who champions equality on the global stage. Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila was first elected in 2019, making history as the first out gay man and first HIV-positive person elected to the body. During his time in office, he stood up to the nation’s health ministry, insisting COVID-19 prevention campaigns include outreach to indigenous populations and others living without internet access. He’s also been one of the most high-profile champions of LGBTQ equality in the country. In response to his advocacy, Congressman Dávila is a target for anti-LGBTQ Congresspeople, was the victim of a robbery attempt and has received multiple death threats. Prior to serving in the legislature, he was the executive director of a Guatemala City-based HIV and AIDS service organization and is a former Victory Institute trainee.

Ruben Gonzales, Executive Director of LGBTQ Victory Institute, released the following statement about the awards:

“As one of the youngest leaders in Maine history, Ryan uses his platform to ensure greater equality for all LGBTQ Mainers, with a particular focus on LGBTQ children. He is a testament to the power of representation. While so many LGBTQ youth live in states with legislatures hostile toward equality, Ryan is a role model who shows them their future is bright. Ryan’s work is a testament to the value an out LGBTQ voice can have – and the power we wield when we’re in leadership.”

“Aldo is a proud out leader who continues to advocate for LGBTQ people despite death threats and intimidation from his own government. In the face of great adversity, Aldo has shown enormous bravery and continued to push for resources, justice and equality for Guatemala’s most marginalized people. We are honored to recognize his heroism and highlight his work.”

Past recipients of the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award include Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, Florida state Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, North Carolina state Representative Deb Butler and Peruvian Congressman Alberto de Belaúnde. The inaugural winner of the Global Trailblazer Award, first awarded in 2020, was Mexican Congressman Ana Lucía Riojas Martínez.

Nominees for this year’s Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award included California State Senator Scott Wiener, North Carolina State Representative Vernetta Alston, Arizona State Representative Daniel Hernández, President of the Erie (PA) School Board Tyler Titus and Milwaukee Common Councilmember Jocasta Zamarripa. Nominees for the Global Trailblazer Award included European Parliament Member from Germany Terry Reintke, Mexican Congresswoman Salma Luévano and São Paulo, Brazil Councilwoman Erika Hilton.

The International LGBTQ Leaders Conference – which will be virtually and in-person this year – attracts more than 550 LGBTQ elected and appointed officials, advocates and community members each year. It is the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ elected officials in the world.

About Victory Institute

LGBTQ Victory Institute works to achieve and sustain global equality through leadership development, training, and convening to increase the number, expand the diversity, and ensure the success of openly LGBTQ elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.