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Can Brazil’s LGBTQ Community Survive Bolsonaro?

Brazil has elected right-wing leader Jair Bolsonaro, who has previously made heinous remarks about the LGBT community…
On Sunday, October 28, the man once dubbed “Brazil’s biggest homophobe,” was elected as the nation’s 38th president. Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain and head of the country’s Social Liberal Party (PSL), won 55.2% of the country’s votes over his opponent, Fernando Haddad.
Bolsonaro won both rounds of the presidential election, ending an era of four consecutive elections for Brazil’s left-wing party. The 63-year-old politician’s controversial victory comes at a time of mass political corruption; a feature he pledged to end if he was elected.
The PSL leader is expected to assume office on January 1, 2019.
While for many Brazilians, Bolsonaro offers the world’s fifth largest nation (both population and landmass) an opportunity for change, for many others, it is a frightening time to witness. The right-wing politician has a history of contentious remarks regarding his stance on women’s rights, Brazil’s former dictatorship, and LGBT rights.
Brazil has a history of anti-LGBT sentiments, with the watchdog group Gay da Bahia reporting that 2017 saw a record-high 445 murders due to anti-gay and anti-trans sentiment. There has been an increase in attacks on the LGBT community since October 7’s first round of voting, including the slaying of three transgender women, with the assailants shouting their support for Bolsonaro.
The President elect has made unsavory remarks about the LGBT community in the past, including his infamous 2011 statement with Playboy magazine:
“I would prefer my son to die in an accident than be gay.”
This was followed by statements of how he would be unable to love a homosexual son, and how he believes gay couples would devalue his property if they lived in his vicinity. Bolsonaro has previously received a fine of 150,000 Brazilian reals for hate-speech, regarding his statements made on Brazilian comedy show, Custe o Que Custar.
Despite Bolsonaro’s anti-LGBT stance, same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since May 2013.
The LGBT community is not the only group that has faced Bolsonaro’s oppressive speech, with women being frequently called inferior to men by the politician. He has previously referred to his daughter as his “moment of weakness,” having already borne four sons.
Bolsonaro claims he believes women should not receive equal pay to men, quoting:
“Because women get more labor rights than men, meaning they get maternity leave, the employer prefers to hire men. I would not employ (a woman) with the same salary (of a man). But there are many women who are competent.”
Bolsonaro’s victory has stirred concern in other areas of Brazil’s social and political climate, due to his stances on: dealing with the increase in violence, the deforestation of the Amazon, indigenous peoples’ rights and his self-proclaimed ‘ideological’ school systems. The president elect’s position on many of these issues have earned him the nickname “Trump of the tropics,” while other critics have drawn comparisons between Brazil’s future leader and the Philippines’ authoritarian leader, Rodrigo Détente.



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