The LGBT+ community was dealt a massive blow with the worrying news that the openly homophobic candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been elected Brazil’s President. As well as his anti-LGBT+ views, his misogyny, racism and disregard for the poor have been on show for all to see. Despite this, Bolsonaro took just over 55% of the vote against his opponent Fernando Haddad’s almost 45% to claim victory.
Capitalising on the backlash against the current economic and political situation in the country, promising to tackle violent crime and stamp out widespread government corruption, Bolsonaro’s win has swung the country to the ‘right’, voters so hungry for change they were willing to overlook his professed love for past dictatorships, his pro-torture views and his history of horrific statements such as “homosexual fundamentalists” brainwashing children “to become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future.” This from a man who publicly stated: “Yes, I’m homophobic – and very proud of it”.
While some may say it is too early to predict what effect his election to the position of Brazil’s President will have on the country, we need only look at the rise in homophobic crimes since his campaign began.
Bolsonaro’s bigoted statements have opened a floodgate, encouraging others to be hateful and violent too. One of the founders of São Paulo’s Pride parade, Beto de Jesus, said: It’s as if the gates of hell have been opened – as if hunting season had been declared. It’s barbarism.”
All is not lost, however, as many in the LGBT+ community have vowed to fight back against the homophobic rhetoric and the rise in hate crimes. Queer activist Renan Quinalha stated: “Our role will be to support the resistance, fight and protect each other. We are over 45% of the country’s voters. We will be more and more each time and we can form a huge resistance movement.”
In a historic first, two trans politicians, Erika Hilton and Erica Malunguinho, were voted into São Paulo’s state legislature, meaning there is a greater chance for LGBT+ voices to be heard. Brazil’s LGBT+ community may be concerned, but they have no intention of giving in.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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