Brazil’s Gays And Lesbians Have A Serious Demand That Needs To Be Heard

This year, like every other year, Sao Paulo had the world's largest gay pride parade, celebrating equal rights for all Brazilian citizens. But this year it was different. In 2014, all the colors and cheers were demanding much more.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched on the streets, demanding criminalizing acts of homo-, lesbo- and trans-phobia.

Just last year, more than 300 gays, lesbians and transgender were killed  in the country. According to an estimate, there was a hate crime every 36 hours in Brazil.

Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in Brazil in 2013, but that doesn’t by any means indicate everyone is accepting of homosexual relationships.

"Brazil’s evangelical leaders are employing strategies used by the US right-wing evangelical lobby to fuel anti-gay hate and prevent any legislation against hate-crimes, with the silent support of our government," said Luiz Henrique Coletto, vice president of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil (LiHS) earlier this year.

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So this year, people came out in droves, dressed to impress, and bathed in colors. They demanded basic rights and safety. Some of Sunday’s marchers came directly from mass, demonstrating their support.

The activists and parade organizers said a law that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is overdue in Brazil. Criminalizing displays of discrimination against homosexuals would reduce violence against members of the LGBT community, advocates said.

"As long as there is this prejudice, we are going to be in the streets," said actor and well-known drag queen ‘Tchaka’ Valder Bastos. "We are fighting against different types of prejudice: racism, homophobia. We are here together to show there are plenty of us."

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However, they may face an uphill battle. Last year, Brazilian lawmakers killed a draft bill that would have criminalized discrimination and acts of violence based on someone’s sexual orientation.

Despite Sunday’s large showing, it remains to be seen if times are truly changing in Brazil.  We hope they are.


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