LGBTI candidates and issues are experiencing an increase in visibility, according to findings presented Wednesday.
At the 22nd International Book Fair in Lima, members of the National Jury of Elections of Peru (JNE), the National Directorate of Civic Education and Training (DNEF), the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (PROMSEX) and Victory Institute presented a pioneering study on LGTBI political participation in Peru, titled “Equality to build democracy: Analysis of LGTBI candidacies in the electoral processes of 2006 to 2016.” Event speakers included Raúl Chanamé, Member of the Plenary of the JNE, Carlos Alza, researcher at the National Directorate of Civic Education and Training, Alberto Hidalgo, Advocate for Advocacy and Human Rights for PROMSEX, and Manuel Seifert, Project Coordinator at DNEF and JNE.
The speakers presented the main findings of the qualitative study, which analyzed the structural and institutional conditions that hurt political participation of LGBTI people in Peru. The study showed that despite challenges, there has been immense growth in visibility and leadership of LGBTI people in national and sub-national electoral processes in Peru. Specifically, in the previous elections￼, four openly LGBTI people were elected. Of the candidates interviewed, many said that part of their motivation for running included positioning LGBTI rights in the public agenda. Some of those interviewed also thought the mere presence and success of LGBTI candidates helps equality, even if LGBTI issues are not the focus main of the campaign.
The study includes a section on best practices to increase the political participation of LGBTI citizens and help more LGBTI candidates get elected to office. Recommendations include: using the framework of human rights to promote understanding of LGBTI issues in electoral reform, training public administrators on LGBTI inclusion, promoting non-discrimination practices in electoral spaces, encouraging LGBTI participation within political organizations, promoting scientific research and data collection on the LGBTI population, and eradicating prejudices and stereotypes toward LGBTI people in the media.
Victory Institute has a history of working internationally to ensure that more LGBTI leaders participate in the democratic process. In Peru, in coordination with PROMSEX, Victory Institute organized the first Political Leadership Academy for future LGBTI candidates, several public events with political parties, and the first regional conference on LGBTI political participation in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was attended by 112 participants from 28 countries. Some of past our trainees include Pilar Rojas, who is one of the authors of this research, and Luisa Revilla, first transgender elected official in Peru.