Jair Bolsonaro, former Army captain and front-runner in the Brazilian presidential race has made his homophobic beliefs clear, going so far as to encourage violence in several forms towards gay men. It is perhaps surprising, then, that 29% of the gay community is expected to vote for Bolsonaro. The corruption that marked the 14-year rule of Brazil’s Workers’ Party explains widespread distaste for Fernando Haddad, Bolsonaro’s opponent, but many are still unwilling to bet on the ability of those surrounding Bolsonaro to temper his anti-LGBT+ sentiments, should he gain power.
While Brazil’s cosmopolitan cities boast thriving gay communities, the country remains dangerous for LGBT+ people. The Gay Group of Bahia counted at least 445 violent deaths of gay people last year. The upcoming election places Brazil’s gay community in what some find to be an impossible position of choosing between a legacy of corruption and a man who is riding a wave of conservative anti-LGBT+ sentiments.
“Some of my friends drank the Kool-Aid and will vote for Bolsonaro, but most of them fear that minorities like ours are in danger, as well as our own democracy,” says Vitor Ramon, a 40 year old marketing strategist who plans to vote for Haddad with a “heavy heart.”
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