Gay Brazil News & Reports 2008-10


1 Baby taken away from Brazilian gay couple 1/08

2 Rio’s governor requests civil union rights for homosexual couples 3/08

3 Brazil opens condom factory to help preserve the Amazon rain forest 4/08

4 Brazil takes movie inspiration for condom campaign 4/08

5 Brazil launches hot site for gay travellers 5/08

6 Brazillian Prez Supports Gay Equality 6/08

7 Mixed messages on Brazilian gay rights 8/08

8 Brazil’s President backs same-sex unions 9/08

9 Archbishop Suspends Priest for Comments 3/09

10 Interview of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva 4/09

11 Rights-Brazil: Gay-Bashing Murders Up 55 Percent 4/09

12 21 injured in bombing at Brazil Pride event 6/09

13 Gay Indian prince opens Pride parade 6/09

14 Risky sexual practices among MSM in Northeast Brazil 7/09

15 UN: First LGBT Organization from the Global South to Gain Consultative Status 7/09

17 Police Arrest “Neo-Nazi’s” In Connection With Gay Bar Bombing 12/09

18 Brazil: Kiss-in for homosexual and abortion rights 2/10

19 Carnival, a Complex Annual Revolution for Women, Gays 3/10

19a Gay teenage boy murdered in Rio de Janeiro 6/10

20 Sao Paulo holds ‘world’s biggest’ gay parade 6/10

20a Alunos da USP fazem ato contra homofobia 11/10

20b LGBT safety under discussion 11/10

20c Police Demonstrate Against homophobic violence 11/10

21 Thousands gather for gay pride parade in Brazil 11/10

21c 600 Reported cases of homophobic aggression in one year in Rio 11/10

22 Govt creates National Council to Combat Discrimination Against LGBT 12/10

23 Gays have the same social security benefits in Brazil 12/10

24 ILGA World Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil 12/10

25 Brazil and Homosexuals: Unequal Rights



11th January 2008 – PinkNews

1
Baby taken away from Brazilian gay couple

by PinkNews.co.uk staff writer
A government official who successfully fought to take an adopted baby away from a gay couple in Brazil has said that "gay couples are
abnormal." On Monday 70 people gathered in San Jose do Rio Preto, a small town outside of Sao Paulo, to protest against the baby being removed from the care of a 30-year-old transsexual hairdresser, Roberta Góes Luiz, and her partner.

"I’ve been through three psychological evaluations successfully. I have my own home, I’ve been with my partner for six years and I have a job," Roberta told O Globo . "But for others that isn’t ‘normal’ and I’m not capable of taking care of a baby. That’s prejudice, there is no other explanation. But I’m not going to give up. I want my son back."

In an interview with the Diario de S.Paulo newspaper, the official, Cláudio Santos de Moraes, said he was not being homophobic when he fought for the couple to lose custody of the baby. According to him, if a situation is ‘unusual’, then it is ‘abnormal’. "I’m not discriminating," he said. "I simply understand that this child has the right to a conventional family, with a mother that is a woman and a father that is a man. I don’t think it is correct to give custody to that transsexual man."

The baby had been under Roberta’s care for 8 months. However Moraes said he didn’t want to feel "guilty" if the child didn’t like his parents in the future. "If it’s an abnormal situation then I don’t see why we would take the risk. The child cannot be a scientific experiment to see if things turn out well," he said. "If that child has the chance to live with a normal family, why should we put it in a situation that might bring it future consequences?"



March 3, 2008 – www.chinaview.cn

2
Rio’s governor requests civil union rights for homosexual couples

by Sun Yunlong
Rio De Janeiro – (Xinhua) – Rio’s State Governor Sergio Cabral on Monday asked the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) to grant civil union rights to public servants with homosexual partners in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The benefits include health assistance, social security and paid time off. The governor argued that denying those rights to same-sex couples was a type of sexual discrimination, which violates "in a straightforward way a significant group of fundamental principles" such as dignity, equality and freedom. Such refusal also harms the juridical security principle because there have been contradictory decisions by court judges on the matter in the country, he said.

The governor also asked the STF to validate administrative decisions made by the state government that gave homosexuals equal civil union rights and to suspend lawsuits and court decisions against them.



April 8, 2008 – The International Herald Tribune

3
Brazil opens condom factory to help preserve the Amazon rain forest

Sao Paulo, Brazil (AP)- Brazil on Monday inaugurated a condom factory that officials say will help hundreds of poor Brazilian rubber tappers make a living while helping to preserve the Amazon rain forest. The plant in the northwestern town of Xapuri will produce 100 million condoms a year, which the government will distribute for free as part of its massive anti-AIDS program, Brazil’s Health Ministry said in a statement. The latex will be drawn from towering jungle trees in the sprawling Chico Mendes forest reserve by small time rubber tappers who protect their trees and thus the rain forest to ensure their livelihood, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The reserves is named after renowned rubber tapper Chico Mendes who drew international attention to Amazon rain forest destruction. Mendes was shot dead in his home in Xapuri in December 1988 by cattle ranchers. Rubber tappers in the northwestern state of Acre, where the factory is based, already produce about 6.2 million tons of latex a year, but demand from the factory will boost that amount by about 500,000 tons annually, the ministry said. The factory will benefit at least 500 families of rubber tappers and will provide about 150 jobs for the town of 15,000, the ministry said.

Brazil currently imports almost all of the condoms despite having large amounts of latex in the Amazon. Officials see factory as a way to provide rubber tappers and local residents with an economic stake in preserving the rain forest.



April 16, 2008 – PinkNews

4
Brazil takes movie inspiration for condom campaign

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
"Do whatever you want, but do it with a condom," is the message to young gay Brazilians from a new campaign against HIV and AIDS.
Government officials have defended targeting gay men, citing statistics that found there are 1.5 million gay men who have sex with men (MSM) aged between 15 and 49 out of a total population of 184 million.

The director of the National Programme of HIV and AIDS, Mariangela Simao, said: "These groups are more susceptible to HIV infection."

A survey of sexual attitudes and behaviour from 2004 is the source of the figures quoted by the Brazilian Health Ministry. Other stats show that MSM aged between 13 and 24 in the country made up 24% of people with AIDS in 1996, but 41% on 2006. The figures jumped from 26% to 37% in the same time period among 25 to 29-year-olds. The posters were inspired by the advertising for the Hollywood film American Beauty. In Britain the Department of Health had a similar idea in February as part of their "Condom: Essential Wear" Valentine’s campaign. Pop star Alesha posed in a bath filled with (unopened) condoms.

The Brazilian government is to distribute half a million leaflets and 100,000 posters about how to use condoms and information about STDs, including HIV, in gay bars and health access points. Julio Moreira, head of HIV prevention programmes at gay health group Rainbow, told InterPress Service that gay men are 18 times more likely to be infected with HIV.

"With the availability of the anti-retroviral AIDS drug cocktails and the longer survival of people with AIDS, the new generation have not seen their friends die and haven’t experienced the pain of the loss of someone very close, so they have become careless about using condoms," he said.

But the Rio de Janerio government’s STD and AIDS prevention programmes director Alexandre Chieppe, said: "Actually, the trend toward more AIDS cases in the young gay population is generally the same as is seen among heterosexual men of the same generation. Among the general population, the AIDS epidemic is stabilising, but cases are still increasing among young men in general and, within that group, gays."

Homophobia has been blamed for the lack of previous campaigns targeted at gay men and the trans population.



7 May 2008 – Easier Travel

5
Brazil launches hot site for gay travellers

A new travel site – theloveland.net – offering tourist information, cultural programs and packages has been launched with the aim of encouraging travellers to visit Brazil for the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade. With contents in English, the site – theloveland.net has been launched with information about the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade, which happens on May 25. The objective is to promote Brazil as friendly destination for the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) public and to motivate foreign tourists visiting the event to see other destinations in the Country.

On the site there is information about the simultaneous cultural programs to the event, links for tourist packages suggested by Brazilian Association of GLS Tourism, ringtones, downloads of pictures of the favorite Brazilian destinations for these tourists and related links. The site launched for the first time last year and received a great response from the international public. The choice of the Loveland name refers to the respect that Brazil offers visitors from all over the world, regardless of their sexual identity.

“We intend to show a multicultural Brazil, which welcomes and respects diversity. And we take advantage of the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade to invite foreign tourists to know other cities and areas of our Country”, explains Embratur’s president Jeanine Pires.

The São Paulo Gay Pride Parade is considered the largest parade in the world of its kind, and last year attracted more than 3.5 million people – about 37% of those being visitors from other cities and countries.



June 11, 2008 – Daily Queer News

6
Brazillian Prez Supports Gay Equality

by Killan Melloy | EDGE New York
Brazilian President Luiz Lula made a principled stand for equality and fairness with a national conference on GLBT issues.The First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites, and Transsexuals began June 5 by decree of President Lula, according to an article published June 9 at anti-gay Web site LifeSiteNews.com, which characterized the conference as an attempt by Lula at “promoting and defending the homosexual agenda.”

The president, who exhorted his countrymen to embrace tolerance, was quoted by the LifeSiteNews.com article as saying he would be “going to do all that is possible so that the criminalization of homophobia and the civil union may be approved.” Lula also referred to homophobia as “the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head,” the article said.



August 21, 2008 – PinkNews

7
Mixed messages on Brazilian gay rights

by Jamie Skey
Brazil’s lower house of Congress has rejected part of a pending adoption law that would have allowed gay couples to adopt children. A Wednesday statement from the Chamber of Deputies says a measure giving gay couples the right to adopt was withdrawn because federal law doesn’t recognize same-sex civil unions. A proposal granting same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexuals has stalled in Brazil’s Congress for more than 10 years, prompting some states to take their own actions.

Southern Rio Grande do Sul state has permitted same-sex civil unions since 2004, and a Sao Paulo state court allowed a gay couple to adopt a 5-year-old girl in late 2006. The current adoption bill now returns to Brazil’s Senate for further debate. This may come as a surprise to many as four out of five candidates running for mayor of the important Brazilian city of Salvador committed their support for gay rights in answers to a questionnaire from gay groups, A Tarde reports.

No previous mayor of the city, which is capital of the eastern Brazilian state of Bahia, has pushed through gay rights measures or appointed openly gay city officials. In the area of education, all four backed age-appropriate sex education with positive discussion of homosexuality and the human rights of GLBT people, as well as stocking municipal libraries with books with accurate scientific and literary information about homosexuality.



September 19, 2008 – PinkNews

8
Brazil’s President backs same-sex unions

by Tony Grew
Gay couples exist and we must give them legal recognition, the President of Brazil said yesterday. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also questioned why some politicians oppose gay rights but still take gay people’s taxes and votes. The President said he is in favour of civil unions.
"We must stop this hypocrisy because we know they exist," he said in an interview with a TV station. "There are men living with men, women living with women, and many times they live extraordinarily well. They build a life together, they work together and I am favourable."

The President, universally known as Lula, attacked opponents of gay rights. "One thing that amazes me is why politicians who are against do not refuse their votes, why Brazil does not refuse their income tax. The important thing is for them to be Brazilian citizens, for them to be committed to the nation. I support the civil union."

He said that Congress was working on the issue. Homosexuality has been legal in Brazil since 1823 and civil unions are allowed in some areas.= However, homophobia and gay-bashing remain significant problems in the country of 184 million people. In June Lula became the first nation leader to launch a conference with the sole purpose of promoting gay equality, where he announced his support for gay rights, and stated he will "do all that is possible so that the criminalisation of homophobia and the civil union may be approved."

A proposal granting same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexuals has stalled in Brazil’s Congress for more than 10 years, prompting some states to take their own action. Southern Rio Grande do Sul state has permitted same-sex civil unions since 2004, and a Sao Paulo state court allowed a gay couple to adopt a 5-year-old girl in late 2006. Rio de Janerio grants the same benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees. The country’s Constitution refers to marriage as between a man and a woman, and marriage is a federal issue, though states may choose to recognise civil unions or other de facto same-sex relationships.

A series of court rulings have given gay and lesbian couples some rights in areas such as immigration, welfare, pensions and inheritance.



3 March 2009 – catholic.org

9
Brazil: Archbishop Suspends Priest for Comments on Homosexuality/ Contraception

As the head of the Archdiocese of Paraiba, I have the grave obligation of suspending [Couto] from the use his orders in our ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Paraiba, Brazil (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic Archbishop of Paraiba, Brazil, has suspended a priest for comments endorsing contraceptive use and condemning "discrimination" against homosexuals, as well as the Catholic Church’s requirement of celibacy for priests. Father Luiz Couto, who occupies a seat in the Brazilian National Congress in violation of Church law, told the news website Congress in Focus that the Vatican’s condemnation of contraceptive use is "a sign of retreat," in the words of the publication.

"I defend the use of the condom as a matter of public health," Couto told the newspaper, and also stated his support for a proposed "homophobia" law that would prohibit criticism of homosexual behavior and require that all organizations open to the public accept homosexuals as members. "We must struggle day by day against prejudice and intolerance," said Couto.

Archbishop Aldo Pagotto, leader of the diocese to which Couto is attached as a priest, denounced the statements as "intolerable."

"As the head of the Archdiocese of Paraiba, I have the grave obligation of suspending [Couto] from the use his orders in our ecclesiastical jurisdiction, because of his summary statements, which provoke confusion among the Christian faithful as long as they are not retracted explicitly, and are contrary … to the doctrinal, ethical, and moral orientations held by the Catholic Church," wrote the Archbishop in a formal announcement of the suspension.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual desires are intrinsically disordered and that homosexual sexual acts are serious sins. It also teaches that the use of artificial contraception is unnatural and intrinsically evil. However, despite their basis in Church teaching, liberal Bishop Emeritus of Goias, Tomas Balduino, publicly condemned Archbishop Pagotto’s actions and expressed support for Fr. Couto.

"He [Fr. Couto] is not an isolated voice and has the sincerity to say what he thinks," Balduino told Congress in Focus. The publication claimed that the "positions defended by Luiz Cuoto have been debated in the Church for a long time." The bishop was also quoted as saying the priest is "a man of merit, respected, taken very seriously."

The president of Brazil’s Labor Party, of which Couto is a member, also issued a statement of "complete support" for Couto, and calling him a "tireless defender of the rights of humanity, of citizenship, and of social justice." Following the suspension, Fr. Couto issued a statement further detailing his opposition to all "discrimination" against homosexuals, and claiming that the Church’s teaching on birth control is a "moral ideal" that contrasts with "reality." The Archdiocese of Paraiba has not yet given a response.



April 2009

10
Interview of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with Kür┼čad Kahramano─člu

Why have social programs been at the top of your agenda during your election campaign and since your re-election? How is it that a catholic, working class president has made human rights issues (including LGBTT rights) such a priority?

The answer is simple: for decades the majority of Brazilian people expected a government that would be able to offer amends, able to take them out of the abandonment to which they had been relegated for so long. With this commitment I got to the presidency and the Government’s actions are guided to rescue this debt with the Brazilians, especially with those who are discriminated by the most varied reasons.

I have felt discrimination in my guts, and my personal and politics history is of overcoming prejudices. I am from the Northeast part of Brazil, I came from a very humble origin, and I have always faced many difficulties to make a living. I was the first of eight siblings to have a job and a signed portfolio. As a metallurgist and trade-unionist, in a country under dictatorship, I often experienced misunderstanding and violence. I understand everything about prejudice, and I consider it the most perverse disease in the human mind.

Therefore, I believe that only with a spirit of openness and a proposal for repair, the truly democratic government should consider the diversity of Brazil, which is actually wealthy. I think that it is the way to govern a family of 190 million people, such as Brazil. There is no only child: we do not have only one religion, one race, one sexual option. And living in harmony and in diversity is a goal to be pursued every day by us all.

The open dialogue with all segments of society, the priority attention to the excluded ones and the improvement of living conditions of the Brazilian people are pieces of evidence that the respect for the human rights have their place assured in the agenda of this government, from the beginning. We have tirelessly fought any form of intolerance, discrimination and prejudice. We considerably advanced in terms of race and gender. Our administration has, for example, the program "Brazil without Homophobia" and supports a bill that criminalizes offensive or discriminatory attitudes on sexual orientation.

Read the entire interview



April 22, 2009 – IPS News

11
Rights-Brazil: Gay-Bashing Murders Up 55 Percent

by Fabiana Frayssinet
Rio De Janeiro, (IPS) – In 2008, 190 homosexuals were killed in Brazil, one every two days, representing a 55 percent increase on the previous year – a veritable "homocaust" according to gay rights activists. The Annual Report on Murders of Homosexuals, produced by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB), says that 64 percent of the victims were gay men, 32 percent were transvestites, and four percent were lesbians.
"A transvestite is 259 times more likely to be murdered than a gay man," says the study which is based on media reports, since there are no official statistics on hate crimes in Brazil.

The findings in GGB’s 2008 report, which has been cited by institutions like the government’s National Secretariat for Human Rights and the U.S. State Department, are "disturbing," says the head of the gay rights group, Marcelo Cerqueira. In a telephone interview with IPS, Cerqueira explained that the report documents crimes that are "specifically motivated by homophobia and prejudice." The study, coordinated by former GGB head Carlos Mott, one of the country’s most outspoken defenders of gay rights, says that 13 percent of the victims were under the age of 21.

The largest groups of victims were transvestites, sex workers, hairdressers and street vendors, although there were also people working in sales, doctors, engineers and lawyers. Cerqueira said that because of high poverty rates in many states, transvestites often had no option but to turn to sex work, at least on an occasional basis. The report says the predominance of sex workers among the victims "is explained by the practice of prostitution on streets and highways, areas that are heavily frequented by ‘marginals’ and traffickers."

In fact the most violent state is the impoverished Pernambuco – in the northeast, Brazil’s poorest region – which accounted for 27 of the gay-bashing murders. "A gay ‘nordestino’ (northeasterner) faces an 84 percent greater risk of being killed than a gay man in the south or southeast," says the report. Cerqueira said the sharp rise in gay-bashing murders indicates "an increase in more effective instruments of control and registration of this kind of homicide."

But the activist also said the figures, although they fall short of reflecting the true dimension of the phenomenon, represent a rise in homophobic violence – in his words, an "alarming" situation that he blamed on the impunity surrounding such crimes in this country of 190 million people. According to the report, Brazil is the regional "champion in homophobic crimes," followed by Mexico, with 35 gay-bashing murders in 2008, and the United States, with 25 such killings last year out of a population that is 100 million people bigger than Brazil’s.

The figures reflect a veritable "homocaust" – a term coined by gay activists to refer to widespread murders of homosexuals – says the GGB, which counted 2,998 victims of such killings between 1980 and 2008. The number of murders has continued to rise, despite the growing frequency of gay pride parades and demonstrations and marches against homophobia, and the election of five homosexual or transgender city councilors, the GGB report says. The National Secretariat for Human Rights launched the "A Brazil Free of Homophobia" programme in 2004 aimed at promoting the citizen and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people through support for institutions that fight homophobia, training of activists, and dissemination of information on the fundamental rights of persons.

But, said Cerqueira, the programme is still weak and needs to take more compelling action. For example, special police units should be created to deal with hate crimes, and sex education should be included in school curriculums "to teach young people to coexist with sexual diversity," he said. Another important step, he added, would be to carry out official media campaigns against homophobia, along the lines of the government’s "Water for All", "Electricity for All" or "Homes for All" campaigns.

This kind of awareness-raising campaign is needed, he said, "to educate people so that they understand that homosexuals are not second-class citizens, and that their homosexuality is just one part of their identity." The activist criticised the Brazilian media, especially comedy programmes, saying they fuelled homophobia by poking fun at and ridiculing homosexuals. This kind of humour strengthens the idea that "it’s ok to laugh at or insult gays," and from there to homophobic hate is just one small step, Cerqueira argued.

The idea that Brazil is a sexually liberated country is "a myth" created by symbols like carnival, he said. But despite the fact that the proportion of LGBTs in Brazil is reportedly higher than the international average, "homophobia is very widespread," said the activist. The GGB is calling for the creation of a government secretariat to defend the rights of homosexuals, similar to the ones that already exist for women’s affairs and racial equality.

Such a secretariat could strengthen campaigns like the ones called for by the gay rights movement to fight homophobia, and could help educate gays and transvestites about how to avoid risky situations, such as taking strangers home or having sex "with marginals," said the head of the GGB. The group warns that if the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva fails to adopt more effective measures to combat homophobic violence, it will file complaints with international bodies like the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The GGB report says 48 homosexuals have been murdered so far this year. According to the report, 45 percent of gays were killed in their homes, and 31 percent were not only stabbed with knives but also strangled or beaten – signs of homophobic hate, which can also be reflected by the number of stab wounds or blows received by the victim. By contrast, 60 percent of the transgender persons were victims of firearms, and 80 percent were killed in public spaces.



June 16, 2009 – PinkNews

12
21 injured in bombing at Brazil Pride event

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Twenty-one people were injured on Sunday when a bomb exploded at São Paulo. The parade is thought to be the largest Pride event in the world with almost three million visitors. It is now in its 13th year. According to the Latin America Herald Tribune, the device was thrown into a crowd of people at around 9pm in a popular gay area in downtown Sao Paulo.

Four people were taken to hospital, although 17 were treated at the scene by paramedics for minor shrapnel injuries. Parade spokesman Pedro Xavier told AP it is thought that a resident angry over the noise threw the explosive into the street from a window. However, he added that the attack may have been anti-gay as the attacked "was prepared, because nobody has a bomb just sitting around at home."

One of those hospitalised has head trauma, which another is said to be in a serious condition with multiple injuries. Two others have non-life threatening injuries.



June 22, 2009 – PinkNews

13
Gay Indian prince opens Pride parade

by Nell Frizzell
An Indian prince who had been disowned by his family because of his sexuality inaugurated the Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil, earlier this month. Prince Manvendrasinh Gohil, who is from Rajpipla in Gujarat, was the only Indian person to have been formally invited to this year’s event. “Every person present in the crowd was cheering for India the moment they saw me. It was a very special moment for me. People there are curious to know more about India,” said Gohil.

Indian Prince Gohil

The Sao Paulo Pride was held from June 10th -14th and attracted over three million people. "It was unbelievable to see such a huge gathering,” Gohil told the Indian newspaper DNA. “And the parade was not the only thing. I inaugurated an office, an art exhibition and even released a book on homosexuality authored by the mother of a gay son. I was even made to dance with Samba dancers. The experience was terrific."

The 43-year-old prince was denounced in 2006 after publicly announcing his sexuality. Consequently, all his rights as the son and heir to the Rajpipla fortune have been revoked. Homosexuality is still, according to the Indian Penal Code, considered a criminal offence and can carry a life sentence.

“I will study the norms that helped in making homosexuality legal in Brazil. I will try to incorporate them in our efforts to make homosexuality legal in India,” said the prince on his return to India.



June 2009 – citeulike.org

14
Risky sexual practices among men who have sex with men in Northeast Brazil: results from four sequential surveys.

This paper focuses on recent trends in risky sexual practices for HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Fortaleza, Ceará State, Brazil. Four cross-sectional surveys were conducted (1995, 1998, 2002, and 2005) among MSM 14 years or older who reported oral or anal sex in the previous 12 months. Sexual practices were considered risky whenever the respondent reported unprotected receptive or insertive anal intercourse in the six months preceding the interview. Different selection techniques were used to recruit the study population: snowball (1995, 1998, 2002 – 32%); time-space sampling (2002 – 68%); and respondent-driven sampling (2005). Analyses were based on the comparison between proportions. High rates of risky sexual practices were reported in 1995 (49.9%), decreasing in 1998 (32.6%), increasing again in 2002 (51.3%), and showing the lowest level in 2005 (31.4%). Participants with more schooling increased their risky practices from 1998 to 2002, decreasing in 2005. Among individuals with medium or low schooling, risky behavior declined from 2002 to 2005. The article highlights the need for behavioral surveillance to properly address STD/HIV prevention.



July 28, 2009 – IGLHRC

15
United Nations: First Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Organization from the Global South to Gain Consultative Status

For Immediate Release
Geneva – The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted consultative status yesterday to the Brazilian Federation of LGBT Groups (Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas e Transgêneros, ABGLT), the first LGBT organization from the Southern Hemisphere to receive it, a coalition of human rights organizations said.

"This is a victory for the human rights of LGBT people," said Toni Reis, president of ABGLT, who thanked the Brazilian Government for their support, and the other countries that voted for ABGLT. He added that ABGLT will fight for the rights of LGBT people globally, including in the 80 countries where consenting same-sex relations between adults are still a crime, in seven of them the punishment being the death penalty. "We greatly appreciate the support of the Brazilian government, which was fundamental in this process," added Alexandre Böer, of Somos a member group of ABGLT. "The strong statement delivered by Uruguay on behalf of all Mercosur and Associated States also underlined that this is viewed as a fundamental human rights issue throughout the region."

Consultative status is a key means for civil society to access the UN system. It allows non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to deliver oral and written reports at UN meetings, and to organize events on UN premises. With it, LGBT NGOs are able to share information and analysis of the abuses and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity taking place around the world.

ECOSOC, consisting of 54 member states of the UN, grants consultative status to NGOs after reviewing recommendations made by its subsidiary body-the NGO Committee-which screens the applications. At its July session in Geneva today, the ECOSOC voted to overturn a negative recommendation by the NGO Committee, and granted UN consultative status to ABGLT by a vote of 25 to 12, with 13 abstentions. A list of the States’ votes at the current ECOSOC session is included below.

"We congratulate ABGLT for obtaining ECOSOC accreditation. Particularly significant is that support for NGOs working to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity continues to increase," stated John Fisher from ARC International, who coordinated lobbying at the ECOSOC session in Geneva. "This is the largest margin of victory ever for an LGBT NGO seeking ECOSOC accreditation. Today’s decision confirms that human rights concerns related to sexual orientation and gender identity fall squarely within the mandate of the United Nations, and must be addressed by all States."

"All NGOs should be given the chance to participate in the UN debate, without discrimination," said Adrian Coman from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, who supported the ABGLT representative at the NGO Committee sessions.

ABGLT Brazil joins over 3,000 other NGOs with consultative status at the UN. However, only a handful of LGBT groups have received the status. In recent years, some states have treated LGBT groups’ applications with intense hostility. With the exception of COC Netherlands, ECOSOC has only granted such groups consultative status after first overturning negative recommendations from its NGO Committee. ECOSOC approved the Danish National Association for Gay and Lesbians (LBL), the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe), and the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) in December 2006. The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Québec (CGQL) and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) gained consultative status in July 2007. COC Netherlands and the Spanish Federation of LGBT Groups (FEGLT) were granted the status in July 2008. The US-based International Wages Due Lesbians and Australian-based Coalition of Activist Lesbians have had consultative status at the UN for more than a decade.

In 2010, the NGO Committee is due to review applications from other LGBT groups, including Lestime and LOS, both from Switzerland, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which were deferred from prior sessions.

For more information please contact:

Alexandre Böer and Toni Reis (ABGLT):

+55-51-8125-7536 – alexandreboer@somos.org.br or presidencia@abglt.org.br

John Fisher (ARC International, in Geneva):

+41-79-508-3968 – john@arc-international.net

Adrian Coman (IGLHRC, in New York):

+1 (212) 430-6014 – acoman@iglhrc.org



December 5, 2009 – LezGetReal.com

17
Brazilian Police Arrest “Neo-Nazi’s” In Connection With Gay Bar Bombing

by Paula Brooks
Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil have arrested seven members of an alleged neo-Nazi group, saying they are suspects in the bombing of a gay bar during a gay pride parade that injured 22 people last June.
The four men and three women arrested are, according Brazil law enforcement officials, members of group called the “Hooligan Impact.”

According to the chief of Sao Paulo’s Racial and Hate Crime unit, those arrested are alleged to have set off a homemade bomb inside a bar in the city’s gay district after a gay pride parade. Police say two suspects were arrested 10 days ago and five others were placed into custody yesterday. In addition to the bombing, police said they are also investigating the group’s possible links to the murder of a 35-year-old gay man during the parade.

Authorities say they tracked down the suspects after a threatening email was sent to the parade’s organizers. The message led to a neo-Nazi website with photographs of its members that were then compared to pictures taken near the bar just before the attack. All seven suspects are to be charged under Brazils organized crime laws and with the bombing at the bar.



February 4th, 2010 – Global Voices

18
Brazil: Kiss-in for homosexual and abortion rights

by Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
São Paulo will stop on Sunday, 7th of February, for an evening of mass kissing. From 17:00, people will meet at the corner of Avenida Paulista and Rua Augusta to kiss each other in protest against resistance to the Brazilian government’s recent third edition of the National Program for Human Rights (PNDH-3). –Augusto Bazárov [pt], Twitter user @Guttto, explains the event:

Trata-se de um ato público, organizado por tuiteiros que usam o ciberativismo como ferramenta de mudança social. Dele, participam mulheres e homens; homo, hétero e bissexuais, travestis e transexuais. Pessoas preocupadas em defender medidas históricas contempladas no 3º Plano de Direitos Humanos, apresentado pela Secretária Nacional de Direitos Humanos do Governo Federal. Dentre estes direitos estão: a união civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo, a criminalização da homofobia, a legalização do aborto e a adoção homoparental. Estas propostas foram duramente atacadas, sobretudo por setores da imprensa e por lideranças religiosas católicas (CNBB).

This is a public event, organized by twitter users who use cyberactivism as a tool for social change. It will be attended by women and men, homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual people, transvestites and transsexuals. All people concerned about defending the historical measures contemplated in the 3rd National Program for Human Rights, proposed by the National Secretary of Human Rights of the Federal Government. Among these rights are: same sex civil union, the criminalization of homophobia, the legalization of abortion and homo-parenting adoption. These proposals have been strongly attacked, especially by the press and Catholic religious leaders (CNBB, the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops).



March 2010 – Inside Costa Rica

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Carnival, a Complex Annual Revolution for Women, Gays

by Mario Osava
Rio De Janeiro (IPS) – Fátima Oliveira, one of Brazil’s few black women doctors, always goes to "the best carnival," in Sabará, a city of 130,000 people in the state of Minas Gerais, where "men dress up as women" at a celebration that is "very informal, very local, with few tourists."

Cross-dressers appear regularly at the many and varied carnivals in Brazil, but particularly in Sabará, in the southeast of the country, said Oliveira, who is a member of the advisory board of the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network, and ex president of Brazil’s National Feminist Network for Health and Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

Carnival in Brazil is "an all-encompassing libertarian festivity where one can strip off the everyday self in order to become what one would like to be," and that benefits women, especially black women, who have become its leading ladies, beauty queens and the models of new aesthetic standards, she told IPS. Carnival has pagan origins predating Christianity, with a subversive character that turned the status quo upside down. The Catholic religion co-opted the popular festival, but modified the meaning to be one of "farewell to the pleasures of the flesh."

Carnival, in this South American country of over 192 million people, is regarded as the most important of all those celebrated worldwide before the Christian season of Lent, and lasts more than a week. The "escolas do samba" (dance and music groups) and bands rehearse year-round for the parades held all over Brazil.

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June 2010 – ILGA

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Gay teenage boy murdered in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil – Alexandre Thomé Ivo Rajão, a 14-year-old teenager, was murdered on June, 23, 2010, in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro. He was cruelly tortured before dying. The teenage boy was connected to Attitude LGBT Group, a Brazilian NGO that advocates for LGBT rights and fights against homophobia. According to the coroner’s report, Alexandre was killed due to suffocation by hand and strangled with his own t-shirt. In addition, he had serious injuries to his skull, which were probably caused by blocks of stone and pieces of wood and iron. He was on his way home around 2:30 a.m. when he was taken by three adult men and brutally murdered. His body was left on wasteland.

Police Officer Geraldo Assed suspects the crime was committed by skinheads, who were driven to murdering him because of sexual orientation intolerance. Three suspects have been arrested. This is one of the most shocking cases of homophobic violence in the recent past times in Brazil. ABGLT (Brazilian National LGBT Asociation) urges the authorities to take all needed actions and severely punish those responsible for the crime. We cannot tolerate yey another case of impunity.

According to reports from the LGBT Group from Bahia (Grupo Gay da Bahia), 198 people, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, were murdered in Brazil in 2009 alone, which represents an average of 1 murder every 2 days. ABGLT demands that the bill of law which will consider discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to be a crime be voted on and passed in order to help beat homophobia in our society.



June 7, 2010 – The Times of India

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Sao Paulo holds ‘world’s biggest’ gay parade

Sao Paulo – Homosexuals and their supporters filled Sao Paulo’s main avenue for an annual Gay Parade that organisers claimed was the biggest in the world with an estimated three million participants. The colourful procession yesterday took place under a bright blue sky, with floats blaring techno music bedecked with gym-hard bodies in swimsuits and dancing transvestites.

Organisers this year sought to place the gay agenda in political campaigns for Brazilian presidential elections in October by promoting the theme "Vote against homophobia." Gay rights groups say that although Brazil is a relatively open society in terms of homosexuality, 198 gays were killed last year in homophobic attacks.

The gay pride association running the parade said that since it started in 1997, the event has become the biggest gay parade in the world, outdoing celebrations in San Francisco and Sydney. The Sao Paulo parade is financed by the state government with sponsorship from Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras.



04 November 2010 – globo.com

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Alunos da USP fazem ato contra homofobia
– Estudantes acenderam velas representando mortes em 2009. Ato ocorre após incidentes contra gays em eventos da universidade.

Estudantes ligados ao Grupo Diversidade Sexual da Universidade de São Paulo (USP) realizavam no início da tarde desta quinta-feira (4) um ato contra a homofobia na universidade. Com faixas, cartazes e cerca de 200 velas, eles tentavam chamar a atenção dos alunos na entrada do "bandejão" central. "Queremos chamar a atenção que existe mortre por homofobia, e na USP estão ocorrendo atos de homofobia entre os estudantes, nas aulas, nas festas. Lembramos na semana de Finados que também temos nossos mortos", disse o estudante de letras Guilherme Rodrigues, de 23 anos (Foto: Juliana Cardilli/G1)

Além do caso de homofobia conta alunos da biologia em uma festa da Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA), grupos também lembraram o caso de agressão a estudantes da Universidade Estadual de São Paulo (Unesp). De acordo com os estudantes, uma entidade da Bahia computou 198 mortes de brasileiros por homofobia em 2009. As velas usadas na manifestação correspondem às mortes (Foto: Juliana Cardilli/G1)



Nov 09, 2010 – social.rj.gov.br
(Portuguese to English translation)

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LGBT safety under discussion

"The degree of civilization of a country is measured from the treatment of LGBT people, " said National Secretary of Public Safety. Event that discusses security for LGBT started yesterday (August) and continues until 11 days at the Hotel Guanabara and has police, authorities and activists from all over Brazil.

"For the Defense of Human Dignity. " This is the theme of the Second Seminar of Public Safety for LGBT occurring in Rio until next Thursday (11). The event is to promote a dialogue between the government, especially in security, with civil society organizations to produce public policies that promote citizenship of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

"This event, sponsored by the National Public Safety can now be regarded as a landmark and should be admired for taking an unpopular cause in the midst of so much rancid right that has been contaminating the population. We should always bear in mind that democracy before a rule by majority, it is a minority regime, "said National Secretary of Public Safety, Ricardo Balestreri.



November 10, 2010 – pernambuco.com
(Portuguese to English translation)

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Brazil: Police Demonstrate Against homophobic violence

While Rio de Janeiro will host the 2nd National Seminar on Public Safety for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), an act against homophobia occurred today (10) in Candelaria, in the city center. The act met city police officers, civilian police and military who remembered the LGBT people murdered in Brazil. During the demonstration, flowers were distributed to people passing by, and white balls symbolizing the homosexuals murdered.

According to the president of the nongovernmental organization Grupo Arco-Iris, Julio Moreira, one can not discuss public safety for LGBT without ensuring social inclusion for homosexuals.



November 15, 2010 – NDTV

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Thousands gather for gay pride parade in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro – A crowd of thousands gathered on Copacabana Beach on Sunday for Rio de Janeiro’s 15th annual gay pride parade. Despite the occasional rain showers, supporters of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities crowded the Brazilian city’s Atlantica Avenue to dance to the sound of trucks blasting out music. People dressed in symbolic rainbow costumes danced under a giant rainbow flag, in protest against homophobia and prejudice and violence directed at the gay community.

Participant Maite Schneider, aged 38, wanted to create awareness about hate crimes against gays and lesbians. She emblazoned the message across her dress, with slogans and plastic dolls covered in blood pinned to the fabric to make her point. She said she lost two male gay friends and one female gay friend to hate crimes in 2010. "I am hoping," she said, "that by 2011, as the city prepares to be an Olympics and World Cup host city, it will learn to embrace people’s diversity and get rid of this prejudice."

Rio de Janeiro is said to be the world’s number one destination for gay tourism but the parade organisers say prejudice and violence against homosexuals are still common throughout the city. Other gay parades throughout the country have also been plagued by violence. Last year, a 35-year-old man was killed after Sao Paulo’s gay parade, the largest in Brazil. Local media reported he was beaten up as he left the parade.



November 16, 2010 – G1 RJ
(Portuguese to English translation)

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600 Reported cases of homophobic aggression in one year in Rio de Janeiro

Violence against the 19 year-old shot last Sunday, after the Gay Pride parade in Copacabana, brought up the issue of violence against homosexuals in Rio Only in the last 12 months, the program Rio Without Homophobia, the state government, registered 600 reports of assaults. The data were gathered through complaints made to the police and defense of human rights.

Altogether, according to the River Without Homophobia, 2000 incidents of violence against homosexuals were recorded last year. Of these, three are in 10 cases of homophobia, such as embarrassment, verbal and even physical. Rio is the first state in the country to include homophobia as a possible motive for the record of events in all police stations legal.



Dec 10, 2010 – AthosGLS

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Brazilian Government creates National Council to Combat Discrimination Against LGBT

(Portuguese to English translation) – President Lula and Minister Paul Vannuchi (Secretariat of Human Rights) assinararam Decree No. 7388 on December 9, 2010, published today (10/12) in the Official Gazette, which provides for the composition, structure, powers and functioning of the National Council to Combat Discrimination – CNCD, which will take the "name Social of the National LGBT.

(The text of the Decree in its entirety)

According to the Decree, the Council aims to formulate and propose guidelines for government action, nationally, aimed at combating discrimination and promoting and defending the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender – LGBT. The Council will consist of 15 ministries and 15 civil society organizations. According to Toni Reis, president of the Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender – ABGLT, "the establishment of the Council is a reivindação ABGLT from 1st National LGBT Conference, held in June 2008, to the social control of biodiesel use of 166 shares of the National Plan for the Promotion of Citizenship and Human Rights of LGBT. "



December 11, 2010 – CLIC-RBS

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Gays have the same social security benefits in Brazil

(Translated from Portuguese to English) – The federal government officially said yesterday, on Human Rights Day, the policy is to extend Social Security benefits to partners of homosexuals. The determination was made through a decree of the Ministry of Welfare and changes the basis for recognition of stable unions INSS. Currently, the institute allows the benefit, but only for heterosexual couples. The granting of pensions already had occurred, but only because it was based on an injunction from federal court, which could fall at any moment.



17 December 2010 – Fridae

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ILGA World Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil

by Douglas Sanders
The 25th world conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) met in Sao Paulo, Brazil, December 4-9. Douglas Sanders reports.

250 individuals from 56 countries gathered in Sao Paulo in December under the ILGA banner. I don’t have a full count for Asia, but we were mostly not there. Central Asia and South Asia stayed home. A Pakistani living in Sao Paulo participated. Japan and Korea were absent. Three from Indonesia. Two from Thailand (including this expat). Two from China. 44% of the members of ILGA are based in Europe (which has a population of 500 million). 10% of the member organisations are based in Asia (which has a population of 3.9 billion). The imbalance in favour of Europe is less than it used to be, having dropped below 50%.

Brazil has lots of LGBT organisations, and the most pride parades of any place in the world. The Sao Paulo parade has attracted 3.5 million participants and observers. The national federation, Brazilian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transexual Association (or ABGLT), the first LGBT NGO from the global south to gain consultative status at the UN, had two years to plan the conference in the seductive beauty of Rio de Janeiro.

Last June it said it would put it off to 2011. The ILGA board began looking for new hosts. Three organisations in Sao Paulo became the new hosts and planning began in late July. This is the second time in a row that a host organisation defaulted. ILGA does not organise the conferences. The local hosts do that, under some ILGA guidance. The Vienna conference in 2008 suffered from a late relocation, though the local hosts delivered three upscale receptions and events. Sao Paulo did not match that.

The conference hotel was in the historic "Centro" area of Sao Paulo. The city was founded in 1534 by Jesuit missionaries. It became wealthy in the 19th century selling coffee to the world. Now it is the main industrial centre in Brazil, with close to 20 million people in the metropolitan area. Centro is not in good shape these days – grafitti on half the buildings and homeless sleeping on the sidewalks. Personal security was a concern. The glitzy areas are now Av. Paulista and Jardins, well removed from Centro. But throughout the older areas are exceptional examples of modernist architecture, some of it in decay after fifty years of being groundbreaking designs.

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2010 – Supermundo
Translated from Portuguese

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Brazil and Homosexuals: Unequal Rights

These three words divide Brazil. And prevent 6 million gays have access to the same rights as the rest of the population. If all are equal before the law, why do some Brazilians have more benefits than others?

by Sergio Gwercman
Until 1977, married in Brazil was adventure forever. It may seem strange for those who did not live those times, and even stranger to whom the lived, but at the time the law forbade divorce. And when finally the government authorized the separation of couples, instituted that every citizen could do it only once in life. In the session that approved the divorce, a lawmaker said the country was creating a "factory of minors abandoned. " Mr Nelson Carneiro, sort of champion of the cause, struggled two decades to topple its legalization bill. In this time was treated as something between the hero and the libertarian

Antichrist who was facing Catholics and despised children. Today, for many people this passage seems an episode of folk times when Brazil was a narrow and conservative country.

But there is almost three decades, the legalization of divorce and emotions aroused debates as strong as the idea of allowing, in 2004, that two persons of the same sex are allowed to marry. To critics, this is a threat to the family, society and the children will be educated by these couples. For advocates, we face a matter of choice individual and equal rights. Legalizing gay marriage means that the Brazilian government is recognizing that there is nothing in that act of wrong. On the contrary: that the couple is fully able to form a family – probably the most fundamental of all institutions of society, where future citizens receive care, learn moral values and notions of right and wrong. Since 1996, Congress has among its projects a proposal to allow civil partnerships between homosexuals in Brazil. For civil partnership, understand something very close to marriage. If passed in the year was proposed, Brazil would be at the forefront of gay rights.

Today is no longer the case: since 2001, the Netherlands, marriage rights apply to all citizens – the words homosexual and heterosexual are not cited by law. It is impossible to know how many gay marriages occurred in the country: the records do not show whether the couple were of the same sex, as if they were unaware of blacks, Jews or lefties. In Belgium, Canada and the U.S. state of Massachusetts, the situation is similar. France, Scandinavia and Buenos Aires, among others, already allow for the union gay civil.

Opposite is most Arab countries, condemning the arrest who have sex with someone of the same sex. Or Zimbabwe, where dictator RobertMugabe sees gays as "subanimais" and "no rights". In the last decade, the planet slowly began to polarize between nations to ensure rights to gays and those who do not recognize them as citizens. In this framework that Brazil will have to stand up.

Find a place for the homosexual minority within society is not a recent problem. Aristophanes, one of the speakers at the Symposium of Plato, was that the human race was created with three genres: the double male, double female and those who were the male and female same time. Each with four legs and four arms. Like all good mythology at some point the creatures made mistakes and were punished by the gods, that separate into two parts. Since then, we are all looking for our other half. With some 3000 years in advance, Aristophanes devised a parable for love in modern times contemplating the relationship not only between men and women, but also between men and women and men and women. Moreover, it offered a idyllic and romantic explanation for the desire to venture into the most radical declarations of love: living together, and preferably to always with another person.

The Law
If you understand marriage as the union of two lovebirds who sleep in same bed every night, love each other, divide the accounts are true, live under the same roof, fight with some regularity so they can do the peace, then gay marriage already exists. Homosexual relationships have stable identical to those of heterosexuals. And will continue to please his will or not. Therefore, the subject of this report is not to discuss if two people of the same sex have the right to live together, but if the State should recognize such a relationship the same way as it does with a man and a woman. Even because, literally, nothing in Brazilian Constitution to ban gay marriage. Article 226, which defines rules for marriage, says at no time this is an exclusive for the opposite sex. Most lawyer sees the silence of a major Brazilian law ban the combination man with man, woman and woman with a certificate wedding. It is a matter of interpretation: it was taking advantage a gap like that activists managed to make the Dutch Supreme

celebrated the first full recognition of gay marriage times modern day April 9, 2001 in Amsterdam. In Brazil, the Congress is still trying to pass the law by allowing people of the same sex have access to the legal device dubbed the partnership industry, which ensures their recognition as a couple. Not a wedding, why not give the same assurances to partners that married couples have, as allowed to adopt children. There is also a full assimilation of rights because, if the marriage would be called gay marriage and no civil partnership. Touring the agenda for eight years, the proposal even came to a vote – if it came, would probably receive a "no" members of Congress. "It is a flagship project of gay rights, and therefore faces greater resistance. It will be difficult to approve it, "says Senator Ideli Salvatti, chairman of the Parliamentary Front for Free Sexual Expression, consisting of deputies and senators. "No legislature will displease their constituents. The path to the approval of marriage is the Judiciary, which can not maintain an inequality, "the Court Judge Maria Berenice Dias, rights expert homosexuals.