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Hate speech in Brazil

Gay bashing problem.
National GLBT conference

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Gay bashing problem:

Although Brazil has a reputation of being sexually liberated, this mainly applies to heterosexual behavior. Brazil has a very serious problem with homophobia. Gay positive groups estimate that more than 2,680 gays and lesbians were murdered in Brazil between 1980 and 2006.

Henry Chu of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

"Physical assaults on homosexuals are commonplace in Latin Americaís largest nation. In 2004, according to statistics compiled by gay activists, there were 159 reported killings of gays and lesbians in Brazil Ė an average of three a week. By contrast, the FBI recorded only one such homicide that year in all of the United States."
"The slayings and other attacks are the violent outgrowth of the discrimination homosexuals still face in a culture that remains deeply Catholic and socially conservative, despite a well-engrained licentious streak. Although a dynamic gay movement has made some inroads in the last 20 years, protection of homosexuals lags the advances won in the U.S. and other Western countries. ..."
" 'Many things in Brazilian society are contradictory,' said James N. Green, a history professor at Brown University and author of 'Beyond Carnival: Male Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Brazil'." 1
" 'I think that gay life, as it becomes more visible and more public, evokes anxiety among a lot of men and their notions of masculinity, and I think thatís one explanation for gay bashing'." 2

More recently:

  • On 2007-SEP, Inacio dos Santos, 19, was attacked in a street in the town of Batingas in northeast Brazil near a bar where he had just won the local "Miss Gay" competition. His naked body was found the next day. His skull had been fractured; he had been sexually assaulted and murdered.

  • The Racial Crimes and Crimes of Intolerance Division of the police have been investigating an attack, apparently by homophobes. The victim was Alexandre Peixe dos Santos, the president of Sao Paulo's Gay Pride Association. On 2008-FEB-12, he was assaulted in his office, was viciously beaten, and required hospitalization.

  • At the time of Sao Paulo's gay pride march, 2005-MAY-30, one of the march's organizers -- Antonio Carlos da Silva -- told the British Broadcasting Corporation that Brazil had a long way to go in overcoming homophobia. He said:
    "This is a very macho country, especially some parts of the country. We also rank first in violence against gays. So, from gay bashing to murder we have a lot of problems in this country."
  • Another march organizer, Pedro Almeida, told AFP news agency: "A homosexual is murdered here [in Brazil] every two days - just for being homosexual."

  • Tedy Marques, president of the Alagoas Gay Group, said: "Homophobia is one of the worst problems Brazil faces. It is unacceptable that every other day in our country a homosexual is brutally murdered." 3,4

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A national LGBT conference:

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil, called the first national conference of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans persons (LGBT). He was the first head of a state in history to do so. The conference was held from 2008-MAY-09 to 11, and was titled: "Human Rights and Public Policies: the way forward to ensuring the citizenship of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans person." It was preceded by a regional conferences in each of Brazil's  27 states.

Toni Reis, president of ABGLT, the Brazilian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual association said:

"It will be a very significant event for LGBT rights in Brazil. 700 people are expected to take part, 60%[from] civil society and 40% government. ... There is strong opposition from religious fundamentalists. ... At this time it is important to provide support and congratulate the President and the Minister for Human Rights." 5

President Lula called for a "time of reparation" in Brazil. He announced his support for rights for LGBTs and said that he

"... will do all that is possible so that the criminalization of homophobia and the civil union may be approved." He called homophobia "the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head." 6

References used:

  1. Cover photo of book by James Green  James N. Green, "Beyond Carnival: Male Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Brazil (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture)," University of Chicago Press, (2001). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store. Kirkus Reviews: "Green brushes aside outworn cultural assumptions about Brazil's queer life to display its full glory, as well as the troubles which homophobia has sent its way.  ... This latest gem in Chicago's 'World of Desire' series offers a shimmering view of queer Brazilian life throughout the 20th century."
  2. Henry Chu, Los Angeles time, "Homosexuals unprotected by Brazilís 'tolerance'," Daily Journal, Caracas, 2004, at:
  3. "Gay rights leader attacked in Brazil," PinkNews, 2008-FEB-12, at:
  4. "Brazil hosts huge Gay Pride march," BBC News, 2005-MAY-30, at:
  5. "Brazilian president calls national LGBT conference," Pink News, 2007-DEC-02, at:
  6. Sophie Picheta, "Brazilian President calls homophobia a 'perverse disease'," Pink News, 2008-JUN-11, at:

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JUL-26
Latest update: 2006-JUL-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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