Things That Matter

It’s Been Six Months And Brazil’s President Is On A Tear Stripping Rights Away From Every Vulnerable Community

President Bolsonaro, who has been referred to as “Brazil’s Trump” or “Tropical Trump,” has just enjoyed the first six months of his presidency. While his 27 years in Congress was marked by only two bills that became law, Bolsonaro is making irreversible changes as President. The country remains divided in opinion, with some Bolsonaro supporters already regretting their vote, and others experiencing the benefits of his inauguration.

Bolsonaro ran on a platform as anti-corruption and pro-gun as a measure to reduce crime and gang violence in the country. He’s also emphasized a return to “family values,” which includes far-right beliefs like homosexuality as unnatural, and the nuclear working-father stay-at-home mother family archetype. Here’s what all that talk has looked like in real life.

In his first hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro removed LGBTQ+ rights from its human rights ministry scope.

@arabellamartuni / Twitter

He also attempted to remove homosexuality from textbooks. In the past, Bolsonaro has said that he’d prefer his son dead rather than gay. Bolsonaro also had to cancel a trip to New York after American protest due to his anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

Just recently, after Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ people deserve protection from discrimination, Bolsonaro warned against Brazil becoming “known as a gay tourism paradise.” Needless to say, Pride festivals were even bigger this year.

In a play against crime, Bolsonaro eased restrictions on gun ownership.

@JComm_NewsFeeds / Twitter

The executive order makes it easier for a person to import guns and raises the cap on the amount of ammunition a single person can buy in a year… by a lot. Instead of 50 cartridges of ammunition allowed per year, a single Brazilian can purchase 5,000 cartridges per year.

His administration has introduced a bill that would protect police if they kill a suspect out of fear or “intense emotion.”

@KenRoth / Twitter

President Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, Sérgio Moro, is responsible for the introduction of said bill. If an officer cites “excusable fear, surprise or intense emotion,” the officer won’t be held accountable for the death of the alleged suspect. It essentially shields abusive officers from consequence and leaves citizens more vulnerable to the emotionality of officers.

Over 13 million Brazilians remain unemployed.

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This photograph is of Brazilians standing in line outside an employment center in Rio de Janeiro. When asked, those in line say they’re ready to accept any job.

Bolsonaro ran a campaign that focused so heavily on pension reform to ease Brazil’s debt that little focus has been left for the growing unemployment crisis.

Bolsonaro has followed through on his promise to strengthen ties with the U.S. and Israel.

@BrazilianReport / Twitter

These two have gotten along great. No democratic President of Brazil has been so pro-US as Bolsonaro. In March, Bolsonaro traveled to Washington to meet with Trump, and the two were publicly heaping praise for each other on national television.

Most significantly, Bolsonaro has begun weakening environmental restrictions to strengthen his ties with agribusiness.

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Bolsonaro is a climate-change denier. He has begun removing environmental protections on a forested coast south of Rio de Janeiro in the hopes of creating “a Cancún of Brazil.” A previous Environmental Minister has called Bolsonaro the “exterminator of the future.”

By the end of January, the administration cleared another 159 pesticides and chemicals for legal sale in the country. By March, the administration began floating the idea of loosening regulations around mining in indigenous territory.

Bolsonaro’s own son has been involved in a corruption scandal.

@AndyVermaut / Twitter

An investigation is currently underway to understand suspicious payments between Senator Flavio Bolsonaro and his former driver. A court allowed Flavio’s banking records to be examined as federal investigators call it a money-laundering investigation. This all comes after Flavio Bolsonaro suddenly purchased at least two luxury apartments in Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile, a movement that alleges Bolsonaro framed former President Lula de Silva on corruption is growing.

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Many political leaders, including Senator Bernie Sanders, have called on Bolsonaro to release Lula de Silva. All this comes after evidence that shows Bolsonaro may have conspired with prosecutor Sérgio Moro to frame Lula de Silva, which pulled him out of a race that he was projected to win.

The credibility of Bolsonaro’s presidency has gone into question.

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For a man whose campaign was run on effectively draining the swamp, many Brazilians are concerned that the election was rigged by the collaboration of Moro and Bolsonaro. Six months into his Presidency, an investigation is underway.

Still, an estimated 4 million Brazilians rallied in support of Bolsonaro on May 26.

@brazil_fake / Twitter

Approximately 330 cities and initial estimates of 4 million continued loyal supporters rallied for Bolsonaro. They all want a smaller government, clean of corruption.

READ: A Tough On Drugs President Just Had 86 Pounds Of Cocaine Found In One Of His Presidential Airplanes

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

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Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

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Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

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Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

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The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

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The nine justices of the Supreme Court will return to the chambers to an explosive docket. The court is set to hear cases covering an array of social issues from abortion to DACA to LGBTQ+ discrimination to the Second Amendment. It is shaping up to be a major term for the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a series of cases that could impact some of the biggest social issues in American culture.

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All eyes are on the Supreme Court as major cases are being presented. Some of the cases included in the docket for this term of the Supreme Court are the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the definition of “sex” as it pertains to Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act and the LGBTQ community’s right to work without discrimination, an abortion case from Louisiana seeking to limit abortion rights, and a gun regulation from New York City.

On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments about discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

In almost half of the country, there are no laws protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community from being discriminated against in the workplace. The Supreme Court heard arguments from two gay men and one trans woman claiming that they were fired from their places of work because of their identity.

During oral arguments, when the employers being sued in the case argued that sex is different than same-sex attraction, Justice Elena Kagan suggested that the law does favor the employees.

“If he were a woman, he wouldn’t have been fired,” Justice Kagan told General Solicitor Noel Francisco, who is representing the employers. “This is the usual kind of way in which we interpret statutes now. We look to laws. We don’t look to predictions. We don’t look to desires. We don’t look to wishes. We look to laws.”

The Trump administration is aiming to get rid of DACA protections from almost 700,000 young people.

Credit: @SenWarren / Twitter

DACA is a program that was first created by President Obama. It gave almost 700,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the chance to go to college, get work permits, and protected them from deportation. The Trump administration ended the program in 2017 and immediately threw the lives of all DACA recipients in limbo.

United We Dream, a DACA-led media company filed its own brief with the Supreme Court. The brief is a first-of-its-kind video brief with DACA recipients arguing their case for preserving DACA. The organization also included an official written brief.

“DACA has accomplished far more than affording deferred prosecutorial action. It has created lifechanging opportunities for hundreds of thousands of promising young people. DACA has allowed them to lead fuller and more vibrant lives, including by seizing opportunities to advance their education, furthering their careers, providing critical help to their families, and giving back to their communities,” reads the United We Dream brief. “Able to make use of the basic building blocks of a productive life—a Social Security number, work authorization, or driver’s license, for example—DACA recipients have thrived. They are students, teachers, health care workers, first responders, community leaders, and small business owners. They are also spouses, neighbors, classmates, friends, and coworkers. Collectively, they are parents of over a quarter-million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen. They pay taxes, contribute to their local economies in myriad ways, and spur a virtuous cycle of further opportunity for many Americans.”

Another case people are watching is an abortion case coming out of Louisiana.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, isn’t aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade but it is hoping to limit the abortion rights of women starting in Louisiana. The law being challenged requires all abortion providers to get privileges are a hospital 30 miles from where the abortions take place.

The case is very similar to a Texas case that the Supreme Court rejected three terms ago. As such, the Louisiana case is asking the Supreme Court to distinguish between the two cases and to determine that the restriction is legitimate if a legislator vouches that the restriction is valid rather than it being valid in practice. As it stands, the law would leave just one doctor in the state of Louisiana allowed to perform abortions.

Another case getting some attention as it sits on the Supreme Court docket deals with the Second Amendment.

Credit: @DaigleLawGroup / Twitter

New York City’s original rule made it so handguns could only be transported to seven gun ranges throughout the city. While the case was originally contested because of the rule. New York City changed the rule and asked the court to dismiss the case as moot, but the court rejected the motion. This will be the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about the Second Amendment’s reach in over a decade and is being hailed as a victory for gun rights advocates.

READ: DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear