While many Brazilians have expressed their fear and disappointment at the recent election of Bolsonaro to the position of President, one group in particular have taken the blow particularly hard – the LGBT+ community. And with reason, as the new leader has openly admitted to being proudly homophobic.
With such a sizeable community of Brazilians currently residing in Ireland, many have spoken to local media about their concerns. In an interview with the Irish Times, Anderson Pordeus, who identifies as a gay man, said: “There is lots of news coming out now of attacks happening close to LGBT nightclubs, in the country that most kills LGBT people in the world. It is making me reconsider to visit my own country next year.”
Another interviewee who preferred to remain anonymous stated: “As a Brazilian homosexual man, I am devastated and fearing for my friends’ lives and also mine if at some point I have to go back there. I have friends that suffered verbal aggressions, friends that just like me are terrified with all this hate and risk of dying just for our existence.”
In an interview from a different source, intersex activist Jessica Tenorio worried about how the new appointment would affect the intersex community: “Saying things about gay people forcing children to be gay. There was a poster saying gender is only XX or XY. For intersex people, that’s a really big problem if they have family there. Telling them it’s shame, it’s wrong, everything about you is wrong. The political system is saying you are wrong.”
For the LGBT+ community living in Brazil, 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.”
While many point out the country’s massive swing to the right at the recent elections is due to years of corruption and an ineffectual government in dealing with widespread crime, they can not deny the massive rise in homophobic, transphobic and racist attacks and even murders.
Another interviewee, Jane Xavier, said: “After so much corruption, violence and recession people think making this change will offer hope when actually I can’t see this happening. For me, we’re going backwards. It feels like we’re going back to the dark ages.”
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