LGBT Brazilians challenged by homophobic, transphobic violence

Although Brazil legalized gay marriage in 2013 and is home to the world’s  largest gay pride celebration, LGBT Brazilians continue to struggle with widespread homophobia and transphobia in the country.  In 2014, the rate hate-crime murders based on sexual orientation or gender identity was nearly one a day, yet some prominent politicians continue to disgorge hateful rhetoric directed at the LGBT community.

Eduardo Cunha, the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, has in the past stated that the country is “under attack by gays,” and advocated for criminalizing “heterophobia.”  The fundamentalist evangelical legislator also killed a bill aimed at banning discrimination against LGBT people.

Rio sem Homofobia, an internationally recognized organization working to decrease homophobic violence in Rio de Janeiro state was forced last month to layoff 75% of its staff after its funding was drastically cut by Rio’s Secretary of State for Human Rights, Ezequiel Teixeira.  Teixeira, a fundamentalist pastor, was last week dismissed from his position for comparing homosexuality to cancer and espousing his belief in so-called gay “cures.”  LGBT advocates have since launched a campaign aimed at restoring funding to the organization.

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