Brazil supreme court criminalises homophobia

Brazil's court rules to prosecute homophobic violence and other crimes under current anti-racism law.

crowd in Brazil holds up massive rainbow flag

In the supreme court of Brazil, 8 of 11 justices voted to treat homophobia in the same way as racism under Brazilian law, making it a criminal act.

The vote makes violence and other crimes against LGBT+ people illegal under the anti-racism law until Congress passes a law specifically including the LGBT+ community.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential to human beings, to the self-determination to decide their own life and seek happiness,” Justice Gilmar Mendes said, according to the court’s Twitter account.

Brazil joins a growing number of countries in the Latin American region that have passed measures in favour of LGBT+ rights.

Brazil’s only openly-gay lawmaker David Miranda took to Twitter to share the news with the world.

The tweet translated reads:

LGBTFOBIA IS NOW CRIME. The vote in the Federal Supreme Court (STF) was concluded today, which frames the LGBTFobia in the crime of racism. The court’s decision by 8 votes to 3 will be valid until the National Congress legislates on the subject.”

According to the NGO Grupo Gay de Bahia, which has collected national statistics for the past four decades, there were 387 murders and 58 suicides over “homotransphobia” in 2017, a 30% increase from 2016.

The decision is timely as it comes under the conservative presidency of president Jair Bolsonaro, who accused justices of legislating from the bench and wanted to see more evangelical Christians join the supreme court. Bolsonaro won his term under promises to overturn liberal social policies and has been described as the ‘Donald Trump’ of Brazil. 

Bolsonaro has a history of homophobic comments, once saying he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

Same-sex marriage in Brazil has been legalised since 2013, but laws protecting LGBT+ people against violence have been lacking until now.

This news comes just as African country Botswana decriminalised homosexuality and Ecuador legalised same-sex marriage, marking an important week for LGBT+ rights under law.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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