Culture

Jair Bolsonaro Has Attacked The LGBTQ+ Community Since Day One But São Paulo Pride Shows He Is In The Minority

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Since Jair Bolsonaro assumed office as Brazil’s president on January 1, 2019, a lot has changed for the LGBTQ+ community of Brazil. In the past, Bolsonaro has publicly stated that he’d prefer his son to die than to be gay. During his winning campaign, he relied on anti-gay rhetoric to gain right-wing support. In April of this year, he told reporters that Brazil “can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism.”

São Paulo’s first gay pride parade since his election is set to prove him wrong. This month, the Brazil Supreme Court has criminalized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, much to Bolsonaro’s dismay, and the gays are celebrating.

Hundreds of thousands of queer people flooded the streets of Brazil’s largest city.

@rufusdowling / Twitter

There were nineteen moving stages with live performances by queer and allied artists that kept the world’s largest gay party going. Like many other LGBT parades, São Paulo aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots against police brutality in New York City.

These are the people that Bolsonaro refuses to accept or acknowledge.

@wesyvinicius / Twitter

The fact is that we’re queer and we’re here. The culture of Brazil has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. More and more LGBTQ+ rights have been secured while the evangelical community has grown 15 percent since 2000. A third of the country is now evangelical, which often translates into flagrant homophobia.

Brazilians were soaked up all sun and no hate this past weekend.

@MidiaNINJA / Twitter

The parade lasted all day June 24 and might have been the largest parade in the country’s history. With both victories to celebrate and growing hate to keep the community marching forward, there were plenty of reasons to show up.

Last month, the head of the nation’s HIV Prevention Task Force was fired for launching a campaign to educate transgender Brazilians about the deadly virus.

@arabellamartuni / Twitter

Acknowledging trans people in Brazil has become a fireable offense, and it’s not going to get better while Bolsonaro is in charge. Some politicians are even advocating to ban gender and sexual orientation diversity from being discussed in the classroom.

This is erasure and São Paulo isn’t having any of it.

@DivetePurple / Twitter

The city launched the use of new walking signals up and down the main street that feature same-sex couples in time for the celebration of PRIDE. Seeing ourselves in even the smallest ways is validating.

Bolsonaro has inspired bills that seek to define a family as an exclusively heterosexual relationship.

@FADASLGBT / Twitter

That would limit LGBTQ+ folks from accessing health care, welfare benefits, and adoption abilities, and so much more. Of course, evangelicals are also pushing for a bathroom bill to go into effect.

Human rights watchdog Grupo Gay Bahia reports that 141 LGBT people have died because of hate crimes or suicide between January and May 15 of this year.

@cleytu / Twitter

That’s an average of one person every 23 hours. The LGBTQ+ community is in serious threat, especially as a toxic culture continues to brew in Brazil. Currently, 1 in 6 Brazilian politicians is evangelical (i.e. right-wing conservative).

Many signs at the parade affirmed to the community that God loves them.

@MidiaNINJA / Twitter

Too often, Latinos raised in religious households internalize homophobia for others and even against themselves. These kinds of messages are more powerful than heteros realize.

Bolsonaro refuses to include the LGBTQ+ community as a group protected by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

@FADASLGBT / Twitter

Bolsonaro has spoken to reporters about how the future will no longer look like boys playing with dolls. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls under Bolsonaro’s understandings of the words.

But at least we have glitter. 🌈 

@magerson / Instagram

Sorry, Bolsonaro. We have style, compassion, and wide open hearts, and you don’t. Must suck.

There was also a considerable intersection of gay pride and advocacy to release ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prison.

@fofunista / Instagram

He was convicted of money laundering and being bribed and sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Politicians ranging from Noam Chomsky to the Nobel laureate of Argentina to Bernie Sanders have advocated for his release. It’s been brought to light that Bolsonaro likely had a hand in denying Lula due process and a fair trial.

Happy Pride, Brazil!

@marciojmsilva / Twitter

Thank you for having the bravery to stand up to an administration that wants to erase you from existence.

READ: Pabllo Vittar Is The Superstar Brazilian Drag Queen The World Has Come To Love Because Of Their Unapologetic Persona

These Trans Latina Cosmetologists Are Fighting For LGBTQ Rights

Entertainment

These Trans Latina Cosmetologists Are Fighting For LGBTQ Rights

mirror_cooperative_ / Instagram

Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.

The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”

While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality. 

Credit: @equalityfed / Twitter

While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through a GoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background. 

“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.” 

But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”

For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this. 

While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community. 

As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people. 

That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth. 

They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity. 

“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”

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Study Finds That Four Girls Under 13 Are Raped Every Hour In Brazil

Things That Matter

Study Finds That Four Girls Under 13 Are Raped Every Hour In Brazil

jairmessiasbolsonaro / fepaesleme / Instagram

A troubling study is highlighting the horrible state of women’s safety in Brazil. This time, a non-governmental organization found that girls under the age of 13 are facing a horrific trend of rapes within the South American country. Here is what the study by the Brazilian Forum of Public Security found.

A new study shows that four girls under 13 are raped every hour in Brazil.

Credit: Saulo Cruz / Flickr

The study also found that police receive a call every two minutes to report a violent attack against a woman. The study shows a very troubling side of one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

“Brazil is still one of the most dangerous places in the world for women,” Valeria Scarance, a public prosecutor, told Brazilian newspaper Globo’s Jornal Nacional. “And the most dangerous place for a woman is her own home.”

To make matters worse, the Brazilian government has been stripping away crucial places of safety for women. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in 2017, the Brazilian government closed 23 shelters for victims fo domestic violence citing budget cuts as the reason. The following year, Jair Bolsonaro was elected as president and it sparked fear and outrage throughout the country. At the start of 2018, the HRC also found that 1.2 million domestic violence cases were pending before courts throughout the country.

The violence against women in Brazil has been at the forefront of Brazilian protests for years, even before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Credit: @StylistMagazine / Twitter

In the lead up to one of the largest sporting event in the world, Brazilians protested to warn potential tourists of the crimes being committed. The famous Copacabana Beach was filled with panties and images of women who have been sexually assaulted in Brazil.

Brazilians highlighted the death of a 17-year-old girl at the hands of a group of men to warn tourists of the dangers of being in the country.

The election of Jair Bolsonaro reignited the efforts of protesters across the country to bring attention to the violence women face every day in Brazil.

Bolsonaro, like President Trump, energized the far-right of Brazil. Minority groups, women, and the indigenous defenders tried to warn the nation against electing Bolsonaro are the president of Brazil to no avail. Since taking office, Bolsonaro has attacked women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, environmental rights, and anything you can really think of.

In one display of troubling rhetoric, Bolsonaro told a congresswoman that she was not worthy of being raped. He made the statement on Brazil’s TV Globo and stated he wasn’t worth rape because she was too ugly, sparking outrage.

As the world deals with injustices at the hands of apathetic governments, Brazilians are trying to fight to save women.

Credit: @Prynces11 / Twitter

The violence against women is startling in Brazil. Only time will tell if Brazilians will be able to put enough pressure on the nation’s leaders to exact the change they want to see for women’s rights.

READ: Indigenous Women Of Brazil Are Refusing To Keep Quiet Over The Country’s President’s Policies