Jair Bolsonaro Has Attacked The LGBTQ+ Community Since Day One But São Paulo Pride Shows He Is In The Minority
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🌈
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.
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!
Thank you for having the bravery to stand up to an administration that wants to erase you from existence.