Jair Bolsonaro removes LGBTQ voice in Brazil Human Rights Ministry
Brazil is a fairly challenging and dangerous environment for LGBTQ people. But Brazil’s election of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has made it more ominous.
In the first hours of his presidency, Bolsonaro issued his decision to remove LGBTQ concerns from the human rights ministry without naming another federal agency to consider such issues.
Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil’s new president
Bolsonaro, a former military officer and right-wing politician, made incendiary comments about race and sexual orientation during his campaign.
Throughout his three decades of political career, Bolsonaro has been a torture advocate and proud homophobic.
In a 2013 interview with Stephen Fry, Bolsonaro claimed “homosexual fundamentalists” were grooming children to “become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future.”
He also proclaimed that “Brazilian society doesn’t like homosexuals” and that the gender-based ideology is a threat to Brazil’s Christian values.
After his election, it seems like he’s making good on his promises in targeting those minorities.
The newspaper Folha de S.Paulo later reported Bolsonaro will close an agency within the Education Ministry that has been aimed at promoting diversity in public schools and universities.
Jair Bolsonaro incites violence against minorities
Bolsonaro’s validation of homophobic hate throughout his campaign created a further escalation of physical attacks and verbal abuse against LGBTQ people by groups empowered by Bolsonaro’s incitement.
Before Bolsonaro became Brazil’s president, the legal rights of Brazil’s LGBTQ community had expanded in the last decade despite the violence and hostility they faced.
The Brazilian Supreme Court legalized nationwide same-sex marriage in May 2013 and it included additional marriage-related rights such as adoption.
However, the Brazilian Congress has never voted through any laws that grant LGBTQ people more rights, even with each advancement being granted by their high court.
This is because a group of conservative representatives in Congress have banded together to block any legislation that threatens the advancement of gun rights, livestock farming, and evangelical Christian interests.
In 2017, violent deaths reached an all-time high, with LGBTQ rights group Grupo Gay de Bahia, the oldest organization of its kind in Brazil, claiming that there were 387 murders and 58 suicides of LGBTQ people.
The situation of LGBTQ community in Brazil
Homophobic crimes such as aggression or even murder on LGBTQ+ individuals are still not criminalized.
It was only recent that a law was approved that creates a longer sentence for “corrective rapes” on LGBTQ people.
Corrective rape is a term used to describe rapes motivated by the desire to “cure” a victim of homosexuality.
This law only came into fruition when in 2016, over 30 men conducted a corrective rape on a 16-year-old girl in Rio de Janeiro, which was filmed and shared on social media.
This epidemic of sexual violence against LGBT women is alarming considering the fact that women have no right to a legal abortion in Brazil, even in rape cases.
Aside from LGBT women, trans people also experiences a high level of victimization with Brazil having the greatest number of murdered trans people in the world.
There is now the fear that Bolsonaro will attempt to invalidate the 2013 same-sex marriage ruling. This may come in the form of laws that would provide the “heterosexual family” an elevated legal status above other family type.