Brazil’s Supreme Court Votes To Make Homophobia And Transphobia Crimes Despite The Bolsonaro Administration Being Vehemently Anti-LGBTQ+
Brazil’s Supreme Court has voted in favor of the LGBTQ community making homophobia and transphobia a crime. Last week, a majority of judges in Brazil’s top court voted to criminalize this type of discrimination. The ruling is in many ways a rebuke to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who ran a platform filled with homophobic rhetoric.
The Brazilian Supreme Court’s ruling comes at a time in Brazil when citizens fear that the new president will roll back LGBTQ+ progress.
Six of the 11 justice judges of the Supreme Court voted to make it a crime to discriminate people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Two different laws, one with language targeting homophobia, another for transphobia, will be added to the law that criminalizes racism until Congress can approve a bill.
President Bolsonaro has been a force against LGBTQ+ progress in Brazil and has openly spoken of his dislike for the community. Shortly after taking office, Bolsonaro removed LGBT+ responsibilities from the human rights ministry and declared that the country can’t become a place for the LGBTQ+ community.
“If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life,” Bolsonaro told journalists in April. “But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”
While some may say it’s late, Brazil has made significant social progress in the last 30 years.
For almost 20 years, there have been attempts to make homophobia a crime in Brazil. But legislation on the issue has constantly faced resistance among conservative and religious groups in Congress.
It took until 1989 for racism to be made labeled a crime in Brazil, with prison sentences of up to five years. The court’s ruling says that homophobia should be framed within the racism law until specific language and legislation is adopted.
Brazil legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and gave LGBTQ+ couples the right to adopt shortly after. It’s also home to São Paulo’s Pride Parade, the world’s largest pride demonstration and Rio de Janeiro’s famous gay beach attracts tourists worldwide.
But despite this, Brazil is still considered a dangerous country for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB), Brazil’s oldest LGBTQ rights organization, 320 LGBTQ+ people were killed in Brazil last year, while at least 141 have been killed so far this year.
Many are celebrating this landmark moment for LGBTQ+ progress in Brazil.
LGBTQ+ advocates have said this sort of negative rhetoric from President Bolsonaro has only added to the dangerous climate. So the ruling has become a landmark moment in terms of social and LGBTQ+ progress in the country. Many celebrated the moment on social media sharing their happiness of the news that protects countless in Brazil.
One user said, “Finally, homophobia is a crime in Brazil. Every day is a day to respect the next.” Another echoed the same sentiment by saying, “A very important step forward in the rights of the LGBT in Brazil. The Supreme Court approved yesterday the criminalization of Homophobia!!”
The majority decision is a major victory for the LGBTQ community and is a testament to changing cultures in countries around the world. While homophobia won’t end altogether by this ruling, it’s a step in the right direction.
The ruling “comes at a very good moment, when we have a head of state who is LGBT-phobic,” Bruna Benevides, president of the Niteroi Diversity group, told the AP. “The Supreme Court assumed the responsibility to protect us.”