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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brazil: If You're Gay, No One Can Hear You Scream

By Mindy Townsend -

We’ve been bombarded in recent months with stories of suicide of gay youth (another one today, in fact.) But there is a place in the New World where homophobes don’t even bother berating and bullying LGBT people until their lives have no meaning; they take the life outright.
Welcome to Brazil.
Grupo Gay da Bahia has documented 250 homophobic murders last year. That comes out to one murder every day and a half.
Did you hear me? Every day and a half.
The number is to be included in the GGB’s official annual report due out in March, but unless that number is pared down by about, well, 100 percent, it’s pretty astonishing. Not only is the number of lives lost simply appalling, but it is on the rise. In 2009, the number of murders of gay individuals was 198 and in the previous 10 years there was one homophobic murder every three days. Now it is one every day and a half.
I don’t think I can say that too much. One every day and a half.
To put that number in perspective, coming in second in murders of gay men is Mexico with 35 per year, and the United States with 25, according to Luiz Mott, a Brazilian anthropologist and gay-rights activist. Still too high, to be sure. But 250, it ain’t.
What is going on here? Mott says that lethal crime is also increasing in Brazil, but that crimes where the victim is gay come with much more impunity. After hate crimes legislation was introduced this past November, there was a widespread backlash that manifested itself in posts to social media websites inciting violence against the gay community and "corrective rape" of lesbians. There were incidents of violence at both the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo gay pride parades. The perpetrators of the violence is Sao Paulo have already been released because the judge in the case did not deem them a threat to society. (Not heterosexual society, I guess. And that’s the only society that matters, right?)
I am a big believer of the law changing social norms and values. And until Brazil passes more stringent laws against such bias-motivated crimes and actually enforces them, I am afraid nothing will change for the Brazilian LGBT community. If the people who make the rules do nothing, it is tacit approval of the murder of hundreds of men and women a year, and thousand over the past decade. Please join me in demanding justice.

petition text -
Brazilian Hate Crimes Legislation


Despite efforts to combat homophobic discrimination, Brazil remains one of the most dangerous Latin American nations for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals. Brazil has no system for tracking these heinous crimes, and no law punishing those who harm and LGBT person simply for being a member of that group. I would like to give you my support for passing meaningful hate crimes legislation and for making Brazil a safe place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

[Your name here] 


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