"I'm extremely proud of the place I choose to live in": Bisexual Brazilian woman making a new home in Ireland

With more Brazilian LGBT+ people making a home in Ireland, have they felt welcomed and how does it compare with their original country?

A young woman with green hair and tattoos smiles at the camera on a city street
Image: Hazel Coonagh

In an intimate interview, Josie Mello, a bisexual Brazilian woman, opens up about moving to Ireland to make a new life.

I am originally from South Brazil and I left home right after I finished high school seven years ago. When I left, there were not many openly LGBT+ people at my school. I had LGBT+ friends and straight ones – so I got to see closely the differences for us growing up. 

Unfortunately, I see South Brazil as a very close-minded area. I remember people judging the way we looked and spoke from a very young age. It felt like they did not even notice when they made little homophobic jokes and comments as it is seen as such a ‘normal’ opinion. That is the main reason why I left.

A young woman with green hair and tattoos looks into the distance

I just had the urge to be me without all the judgment and I felt like moving to somewhere else would be best. Since I came to Ireland, I feel like although Ireland is a very Catholic country, we all get to live our lives way more freely and safely than I did in Brazil.

Of course, we’re still not 100 % safe here, or anywhere else. At the beginning of 2019, I was going to work and a man approached me as I was walking by the Luas. He seemed to be clearly on drugs or something and started shouting at me, saying God was going to punish me for my sexual choices. I was by myself, wearing jeans, a black hoodie and had a shaved head at the time.

When I told him to stop he pushed me aggressively but I luckily managed to get inside the Luas before the doors closed completely. I still remember his voice and face as it was a very traumatic situation.

A young woman with green hair and tattoos looks into the distance

I love the LGBT+ Irish community and the way we all get along so well with each other despite nationality, race and sexuality. The fact that Irish people voted ‘Yes’ for gay marriage and reproductive rights makes me extremely proud of the place I choose to live in and call home.

This article was part of a series focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Brazilian people who have made a new home in Ireland.

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