A student was shot during the 15th edition of the Rio Gay Pride Parade. Two boys were insulted and heavily beaten by upper class teenagers at Avenida Paulista, one of São Paulo’s postcards. These two episodes happened in the last few days in two metropolis that are, arguably, the heart of the gay community in the country.
It is no surprise. According to an annual report about violence against homosexuals published by Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest gay advocacy active in the country, in the last two years, one gay Brazilian was killed every two days. It’s 54% more than the two previous years. Violence was particularly serious in the states of Bahia and Paraná. In 2009, 117 gays, 72 transvestites (and transsexuals) and 9 lesbians were murdered. Click here and here for the full report published in March (in Portuguese). Attention: the second link includes very graphic images of corpses.
In a recent post I mentioned a poll that indicated that 26.1% of the Brazilian interviewees would rather not having a homosexual neighbor. The consequences of this prejudice are evident. A new public phone service (#0800 023 4567) created to record complaints against homophobes in the state of Rio registered 1.500 calls since July. Aggressions are particularly frequent in the shanty towns of the city of Rio. In some cases, gays, lesbians and transvestites are expelled from their communities.
This is sad. Let’s reach for the intolerant ones that surround us and try to help them see beyond their prejudices.
And if you want to learn more about gay life in Brazil, read this post, which was definitely more optimistic.