As you might already know, since 2020, we were able to shift to virtual programming and offer trainings in South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Peru – and for the first time in Victory Institute’s history, last December, we held a training for Brazil. In collaboration with our local partners VoteLGBT, we were able to virtually train 35 extraordinary LGBTQ leaders in the Country.
Brazil is 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 the words of Erika Hilton, city councelour, black, trans women, and the most voted women in Brazil during the last elections: “It is essential that we occupy this spaces, so we can create the policies that we need and that we deserve”.
Erika agreed to become one of the many talented trainers that led this group of LGBTQ leaders during the 3-day training. She shared her experience and the lessons she has learned while participating in politics. She reminded our trainees that their existence is political and that they are already participating by having these conversations and facing life every day.
Later this year, we will continue working with local partners in Brazil to provide the support that can help more brave LGBTQ continue to positively impact the life of their communities – but with a focus on doing it safely. As we do these trainings, we are laser-focused on supporting the intersectional efforts currently being led by indigenous, black, and feminist groups and ensuring a strong LGBTQ presence thru trainings and strategic collaborations with our local partners in the Country.