“This is part of a consistent pattern of homophobic violence in which LGBTI people can be killed with impunity.”
The homofobiamata website, which has taken to reporting every known anti-LGBT+ murder in Brazil has listed the 270th victim this year as Israel Almedia.
“42 year-old teacher Israel Almeida was shot dead when two men drove up to his house late at night and banged on the door,” the website reads. “When he opened up he was shot multiple timers at point blank range and died instantly.”
Despite Brazil’s image as an inclusive nation, last year there was a 30% increase in anti-LGBT+ murders in the country, with a reported 445 deaths. This means that in 2017 an LGBT+ person was killed every 19 hours.
As reported by The Guardian earlier this year, Luiz Mott, an anthropologist and president of Grupo Gay de Bahia, attributes the rising violence to the prominence of ultra-conservative politicians, many of whom are linked to Brazil’s evangelical caucus.
“It’s a discourse that destroys solidarity and equates LGBT+ people to animals,” he said. “TV programs linked to evangelical churches often compare homosexuality to the devil.”
“We are increasingly concerned at the wave of homophobic violence in the Americas, not least in Brazil,” says Jim Loughran of Head of HRD Memorial with Front Line Defenders, a human rights organisation based in Dublin. “This is part of a consistent pattern of homophobic violence in which LGBTI people can be killed with impunity.”
The homofobiamata list also includes the suicides of people who were the target of relentless homophobia and transphobia.
“Grupo Gay de Bahia reported 445 killings in 2017 and 343 in 2016,” says Loughran. “This is a pattern that is replicated across the region and it is time for us to acknowledge the scale of the problem.”
The victims in 2017 were made up of 387 murders and 58 suicides, and include Dandara dos Santos, a transgender woman who was beaten to death in the northeastern Brazil city Fortaleza in March. A video of her being beaten and kicked to death was circulated on social media by her killers.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, and employment discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal.
Last September a judge reversed Brazil’s ban on conversion therapy for LGBT+ people.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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