Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro has targeted his country’s LGBTIQ community in the first hours of his administration after being sworn in on January 1.
Bolsonaro signed an executive order removing LGBTIQ community issues from consideration by the new human rights ministry, the Associated Press reported, and didn’t name a replacement agency in its place.
Bolsonaro has a long and shocking history of homophobic and misogynistic comments, including equating homosexuality to pedophilia and proclaiming he would rather his son die than be gay.
He has said he’s “proud” to be homophobic and previously criticised “gender-based ideology” as a threat to Brazil’s Christian values.
Brazil’s new human rights minister Damares Alves, a former evangelical pastor, told the Associated Press on Wednesday, “The state is lay, but this minister is terribly Christian.
“[Under the new administration] girls will be princesses and boys will be princes.
“There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.”
LGBTIQ activist Symmy Larrat said she isn’t hopeful of fair treatment from the Bolsonaro administration.
“The human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called secretariat of promotion and defense of human rights,” she told the Associated Press.
“That body just disappeared, just like that.
“We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues.”
But Bolsanaro received support after his inauguration from the likes of US President Donald Trump, who tweeted, “Congratulations to President @JairBolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech – the U.S.A. is with you!”
Homophobic violence in Brazil
Last month, it emerged anxious Brazilian same-sex couples were rushing to get married before Bolsonaro’s inauguration on January 1.
Volunteers mobilised on social media to donate wedding services, with one LGBTIQ shelter fundraising to marry 100 same-sex couples and assist trans people with securing updated documentation.
Bolsonaro’s vice-president Hamilton Mourão earlier said he believes marriage is only between a man and a woman but the incoming government did not intend to change the status of same-sex marriages.
Legal experts have said an outright ban on same-sex marriage would be difficult to introduce, given the country’s top court unanimously ruled to recognize same-sex marriages in 2011.
But human rights advocates warned that anti-LGBTIQ rhetoric could further escalate homophobic violence in the country.
Twelve months ago a watchdog in the country reported that violent deaths of LGBTIQ people in Brazil had reached an all-time high in 2017, increasing an estimated 30 per cent since 2016 and tripling since 2007.
(Photo by Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr)
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