Gay Brazil News & Reports 2011

1 Brazil OKs in vitro fertilization for gay couples 1/11

2 In Brazil, in one year, 250 LGBT murdered: a "homocausto" 1/11

3 Six transvestites receive literary prize from Ministry of Health, Sao Paulo 1/11

4 ‘River Without Homophobia’ Launches Booklet on Rights of Trans People 1/11

5 Brazilian Law Society’s 1st National Congress on Homoaffective Law 2/11

6 ‘Brazil, a Territory Free from Homophobia’ Stamp and Help-Line Launched. 2/11

7 Homophobia unchained 3/11

8 Report: 60 homosexuals were murdered in Brazil in 2010 4/11

9 Brazil at a Crossroads for LGBT Rights 4/11

10 Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners 4/11

10a Ode To Secular State 4/11

10b Brazil inaugurates its National LGBT Persons Council 4/11

11 Brazil High Court To Consider Gay Unions 5/11

12 Brazil court OKs same-sex civil unions 5/11

13 Brazil’s supreme court recognizes gay partnerships 5/11

14 Waiting for Congress 5/11

15 Rio de Janeiro Favela Rocinha’s First Gay Pride 5/11

16 Brazil sex education material suspended by President 5/11

17 Latin America Progresses Forward – a Victory for Gay Rights 5/11

18 Brazil gay rights progress highlights deep divisions 6/11

18a Gay Pride Sao Paulo History 6/11

19 Brazilian judge gives male couple approval 6/11

19a Description of The Brazilian GLBT Association 6/11

20 Foreigners Follow Money to Brazil, Land of $35 Martini 8/11

21 Minister Launches National Caravan of Human Rights 8/11

22 Fight for Gay Rights Making Strides 8/11

23 Nearly 700,000 people join in parade 10/11

24 Brazil: Is the Ruling Party an LGBT Ally? 10/11

25 Stand with Brazil’s "Equality Moms" 11/11

26 Drag Squadron Project starts in San Paulo Arouche Square 11/11

January 6, 2011 – The Washington Post

Brazil OKs in vitro fertilization for gay couples

Rio De Janeiro (AP) – Brazil’s national association of doctors has approved new rules for in vitro fertilization that let same-sex couples and single people qualify for the process. A statement from the organization says that the change "was a demand of modern society."

The rules published Thursday replace guidelines that were in place for nearly two decades. In vitro fertilization involves mixing egg and sperm in a laboratory, then transferring the embryo into the womb. The new standards also allow fertilization using eggs or sperm from the deceased with prior approval, and impose limits on how many embryos can be implanted.

12 January 2011 – LGBT Asylum News

In Brazil, in one year, 250 LGBT murdered: a "homocausto"

by Paul Canning
A Brazilian LGBT organisation which has been documenting homophobic murders of LGBT people in that country says they have now hit a record number: one every day and a half. Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB), the oldest Brazilian gay group, documented 250 cases in 2010. The figure is part of their annual report – still being completed – that will be officially unveiled in March. In an interview with Terra Magazine, founder of the GGB and ‘dean of the homosexual movement in Brazil’ (‘decano do movimento homossexual brasileiro’), Luiz Mott, said that in 2009 there were 198, about 50 less than reported last year.

Speaking on Brazilian TV, Mott described what’s happening as a "homocausto". In the previous decade an LGBT person was killed, on average, every three days. In recent years, that average rose to a murder every day and a half. GGB says that between 1980 and 2009 at least 3,100 homosexuals were killed by hate crimes in the country. This escalation reflects growing violence in Brazil, especially with regard to lethal crimes. But, in general, impunity is higher when the victim is gay, Mott said, because people do not want to get involved, to testify.

Mott emphasized that the figures compiled by the GGB, based on reports in the national press, do not reflect the real picture of violence against homosexuals in Brazil. That it is definitely much more extensive: "surely this number is much higher."

"In the National Plan for Human Rights (PNDH 2) there were 11 affirmative measures which, unfortunately, the [previous] Lula government did not implement. The first was the documentation, the implementation of systematic data collection on violence, murder of homosexuals. Official statistics of Brazilian hate crime should be undertaken by the Ministry of Justice, the Office of Human Rights and national states – not the GGB, with its limited resources, who has done this heroic work."

Even with underreporting, Brazil outperforms countries such as Mexico, which is the second place in the murders of gay men (average 35 cases per year) and the United States, third in the list (approximately 25 notices per year), according to Mott. For Mott, the country is living with a contradiction in that it has "more than 150 gay parades, houses the largest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in Latin America," but at the same time, it is "the world leader in deaths from this population. Brazil has a death penalty, in practice, much more severe than those in most homophobic countries in the world."

"A homofobia cultural é forte no Brasil" – "cultural homophobia is strong in Brazil." In November, we reported that a proposed hate crimes law to tackle killings of LGBT had provoked a massive backlash on social media, including direct incitements to violence. The arrest of two Brazilian soldiers last year following the shooting of a 19-year-old gay man on the day of the Gay Pride celebration in Rio de Janeiro drew wide media attention in Brazil. Sao Paulo’s Gay Pride attracts 3.3 million – the biggest in the world – but a group of upper middle-class teenagers went on an attacking spree, beating several men and yelling homophobic epithets after the parade. Four of them were minors, and were sent to a juvenile detention center, but they have already been released, since a judge determined that they "were not a danger to society." Though the victims’ lawyers may pursue criminal charges against the aggressors, the Sao Paulo government only threatened fines (though these could potentially be quite high).

Amid the publicity surrounding the shooting in Rio, and about proposed hate crimes laws, MundoMais reported thousands of Twitterers expressing support for homophobic attacks on LGBT using the slogan "Homophobia? Yes!" (#homofobiasim, see English translation of tweets, some of which are explicitly pro-violence, pro-‘corrective rape’ of lesbians) or used the number of the proposed hate crimes law (yes=#PL122Sim, No=#PL122Nao).

Mott say that "there is a whole cultural and institutional homophobia that still exists and has, in evangelical churches and Catholic churches, the great manufacturing centers for such ideological weapons." Despite the public support for LGBT rights of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva over his eight-year rule, says Luiz, "the situation of LGBT people has worsened."

"There were years marked by many declarations and affirmative action through the program "Brazil without Homophobia, LGBT National Conference, the creation of the National LGBT. However, few proposals have left the paper. The important achievements, as the name for social travesty, are the result of one or two decades of militancy of the movement. In concrete terms, the situation worsened for gays, despite the party. Never so much blood was shed as a homosexual in the Lula government. The HIV infection has also increased. A dire situation. Despite all the good will, statements and programs, proposals and affirmative action, the life expectancy of homosexuals diminishes."

Mott criticizes what he calls "lack of political will":

"For more than a dozen laws in Congress, aimed at the homosexual citizenship. To enact such laws, it is necessary political will and pressure of the executive by the legislature. The bench Gospel and the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Catholic) are extremely homophobic and prevent the adoption of such proposals. Lula, unfortunately, lacked the courage and boldness to press his power base, so that these laws were adopted."

"In our view, there was malfeasance on the part of the Presidency for not having effected the 11 measures proposed by PNDH 2. The government, despite the best intentions, did not face the main need, which is the guarantee of life for homosexuals. There were estimates of practical measures, if implemented, certainly, we would have a more precise number of these homicides. There were proposals to tackle homophobia and lethal crimes."

28 January 2011 –
Google Portuguese to English translation

Six transvestites receive literary prize from Ministry of Health, Sao Paulo

The Department of STD, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health delivered on Friday evening in St. Paul, six transvestites prize for stories about people who live or are living with HIV. They participated in the literary contest "Lives in Chronicles," which received texts from around the country. The prize was a netbook. We have reports and varied, ranging from the interior of Piauí São Paulo. These are reports that show their conflicts. They speak from the perspective transsexual – said Daniel Barbosa, Assistant Secretary of STDs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health

He said the aim was to show the difficulties and the resilience of these people and also raise awareness to the end of transphobia and for social inclusion and reducing vulnerabilities. The stories told by six transvestites will be available on site "Around 12 years of watching television programs that had dancing pageants transvestites freshmen. Transported me to those dreams. At 17 I decided to go to Sao Paulo, hitchhiking. Once there, traveling by road, was arrested for vagrancy and began to realize that reality would be another "- an account of winning, Raisa Gorbachof of Bethlehem

"To survive I began to prostitute herself and, along with other transvestites, I decided to apply liquid silicone clandestinely. Shortly thereafter, he learned that five friends were infected with HIV. I did the test and was negative. But my happiness was fleeting, as that by repeating it, I came across seropositivity. From there my life took another course, the drugs, theft and reckless. "

Among the chronic awards, is also of Lyah Correa, another resident of Bethlehem, who wrote about his experience in the text "Measurements of courage":

"Violence and fear of death led me to a state of alert. However, the sense of invulnerability sexual prevented me to be able to protect me. She dated several men and pleasures felt different. But the opportunity to experience the full pleasure resulted in My discovery of seropositivity "- wrote to complete:" Do not blame me for having lived happily, but I confess that I felt the need to rethink my life, my values. But it’s so hard to think of moving forward when no one supportive family, when the doors are closed to the job knowing that I am a girl with a penis Jônisson call, and my only adviser and friend, the night they were angry for not having it included as it should. "

Beth Fernandes, Goiania, wrote to chronicle "The smell of latex":

"She got in and remembers the experience of the ghost train, do not know what can happen there. The purse in her lap now and had not weighed as much as defense and protection purposes and within the safe use of an instrument – the condom. Open the bag and take it has a slow effect, to fall in love, open it correctly. Making the latex wrap and place it on membership is like wrapping a present. Hold the tip, the deposit is a new sensation . The coming and going like a frenzied dance. This frenzy is not bothered by the condom, by contrast, is felt with pleasure, safety and protection. A final breath. With trembling hands, and latex safe node is to dismiss everything as if it were a farewell. The smell of latex remains on hand as a reminder to eat a fruit of the cerrado. And the smell that comes out is not an indictment of safe sex. Exit the car is very easy. Eyes walking down the street does she not see the money and is convinced to be safe. Back to corner. "

January 28, 2011 –
Google Portuguese to English translation

‘River Without Homophobia’ Launches Booklet on Rights of Trans People

The ‘River Without Homophobia Program’, the State Department of Social Welfare and Human Rights, launched today a primer on the civil rights of transvestites and transsexuals, to celebrate the National Day of Trans Visibility, celebrated on January 29. Parts information circulated on the Internet and will be distributed in places frequented by transvestites and transsexuals, such as bars and nightclubs. The booklets will also be available in police stations, health clinics, schools and other public agencies.

"The community of transvestites and transsexuals is the most affected by intolerance and hatred," said the superintendent of Individual Rights, Collective and Fuzzy’s secretariat, Claudio Nascimento, coordinator of Rio without homophobia. "They [transvestites and transsexuals] are cussing, raped and treatment carry a criminal who should be reversed." According to data of the Department, between March and December 2010 were made 92 calls to transvestites and transsexuals. The majority, 55 cases (60% of the total) was directly related to violence. The other concerned the rectification of civil registration for change of name and search for other rights.

Pioneering program of citizenship movement LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered), Rio Without Homophobia remains a core service and a telephone service that in seven months of operation, received over 2000 calls. Through the number 0800-023-45-67 homosexuals can report acts of violence, prejudice, or learn about civil rights.
Agency Brazil

18 February, 2011 – MSM Global Forum

Brazilian Law Society to hold its 1st National Congress on Homoaffective Law

Rio de Janeiro, March 23-25, 2011.

1º Congresso Nacional Sobre Direito Homoafetivo
Organizado pela desembargadora aposentada Maria Berenice Dias, em parceria com a Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (OAB), o Rio de Janeiro sedia entre os dias 23 e 25 de março o I Congresso Nacional Homoafetivo.

O encontro irá debater uma série de temas, entre eles a criminalização da homofobia; a adoção homoparental; a constituição da família homoparental e a necessidade do código civil abarcar estas uniões; a questão transexual, entre outros.

Um tema que está em alta e que também vai compor uma das mesas é a questão da gestação assistida, que acaba de ser liberada para casais homossexuais. Para ter mais informações e saber como participar, clique no link abaixo

View original article here

19 February, 2011 – MSM Global Forum

Government launches ‘Brazil, a Territory Free from Homophobia’ Stamp and Homophobia Help-Line.

Event followed by protest march against homophobia.

Baixe aqui as artes das peças da campanha

A ministra Maria do Rosário, da Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República (SDH/PR), lançou neste sábado (19), em São Paulo (SP), o selo "Faça do Brasil um Território Livre da Homofobia. A ação tem a finalidade de divulgar o Disque Direitos Humanos – módulo LGBT (Lésbicas, Gays, Bissexuais, Travestis e Transexuais). Mais cedo, a ministra se reuniu com movimentos de Direitos Humanos na Câmara Municipal da capital paulista. Durante o ato de apresentação do selo e do Disque Direitos Humanos (Disque 100), Maria do Rosário enfatizou a necessidade do envolvimento de todos os setores da sociedade para o enfrentamento do preconceito. “Estamos aqui lançando não só um selo, mas juntos assumindo um compromisso para que o Brasil seja um território livre da homofobia”, disse.

A ministra também explicou aos presentes como se dará o sistema de atendimento pelo telefone, um serviço gratuito e 24 horas por dia, sete dias por semana. “Trata-se de um serviço de acolhida, para que o denunciante seja, antes de tudo, respeitado. Não se trata só de um atendimento telefônico, mas de um canal de recebimento de denúncias para que possamos agir para enfrentar a violência homofóbica. O Estado brasileiro não tolera o preconceito”, enfatizou. Sobre o ato ser realizado na avenida Paulista, Maria do Rosário destacou o símbolo positivo. Segundo ela, o local que recebe a maior parada pelo respeito à diversidade sexual do país não pode ficar marcada pela violência.

A vice-presidente do Senado, senadora Marta Suplicy (PT-SP), cobrou uma atitude do Poder Legislativo para o enfrentamento das discriminações. Ela disse que o Brasil está atrasado na aprovação de leis e, enquanto isso, pessoas estão morrendo. “Há 15 anos nós tínhamos a Argentina como um país conservador. Hoje a Argentina tem casamento gay e o Brasil tem espancamento gay”, disse.

Já o deputado federal Jean Wyllys (Psol-RJ) parabenizou a iniciativa do governo federal em constituir um símbolo de enfrentamento à homofobia. Ele destacou que os interesses da comunidade LGBT estão acima dos partidos políticos.

View original article here

Video of stamp launch here

March 18, 2011 – Daily KOS

Homophobia unchained

by CA TreeHugger
I just thought I would share this video with the dKos community.

Priscila, a 22-year old trans woman in Brazil (born Gustavo Brandão Aguilar), was captured on surveillance camera being shot seven times, execution style, earlier this month. It is — and I do not write this lightly, or with malice — to be expected in a country where a LGBT person is slain every other day. After shooting her, the suspects fled in a car. Police do not appear to have any significant leads. Her killing was followed, 20 hours later, by the murder of Valdecir. She was shot in the head and neck. This Is What Intolerance Looks Like

April 5, 2011 –
Translated from Spanish

Report: 60 homosexuals were murdered in Brazil in 2010

Violence against homosexuals in Brazil increased dramatically in 2010, when they were recorded no fewer than 260 cases of murders of gays, transvestites and lesbians, compared to the 198 that occurred in the previous year, according to a study released Monday. According to the report of the Gay Group of Bahia (GGB), the actual number of violent deaths is probably higher, since the statistics presented in Salvador de Bahia is based only on news published by the press and complaints received by entities defending the rights of sexual minorities. "There are no official statistics on this type of crime in Brazil," said the anthropologist Luiz Mott, a founder of GGB, annual reporting on the subject since 1980.

In turn, the president of GGB, Marcelo Cerqueira, said that crimes against homosexuals increased by 113 percent over the past five years, the State has taken steps to address the problem: "There is inertia on the part of government federal. In just the first three months of this year and have received documents proving the murders of 65 homosexuals. Only we can reduce these sad statistics when people learn to respect the human rights of homosexuals, when police and Justice rigorously punish homophobia and, above all, when gays and transvestites themselves learn to avoid risky situations, such as the unknown to be carried home, "he said.

According to Cerqueira, many of the crimes reflect the hatred of homosexuals authors: "Many of these murders reveal the hatred of homophobia, as they were charged with cruelty, including torture and castration." GGB’s report reveals that 43 percent of homosexual murders recorded last year was committed with a firearm. 27 percent of the victims was killed by stab wounds, 18 per cent beaten to death and 12 percent died from asphyxiation.

April 5, 2011 – The Nation

Brazil at a Crossroads for LGBT Rights

by Erica Hellerstein
On March 19, President Barack Obama flew to Brazil to kick off a three-country tour of Latin America. His five-day visit to El Salvador, Brazil and Chile—countries in a region often called “America’s backyard”—presented an opportunity to redefine America’s historically thorny foreign policy towards Latin America.

Obama’s trip to South America is widely considered a nod towards Latin America’s growing power. Brazil, in particular, now the world’s eighth-largest economy, is frequently lauded for its dramatic economic progress. “More than half of this nation is now considered middle class,” Obama noted in an address to the Brazilian people at Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro Municipal on March 20. “Millions have been lifted from poverty.” In a speech delivered in Brasília the day before, Obama extolled Brazil for its remarkable economic growth rate and its transition from dictatorship to open democracy. Thomas Shannon, the US ambassador to Brazil, echoed this view, stating, “Brazil is no longer an emerging country. It has emerged.”

However, as newly elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff noted while welcoming Obama to Brazil, “We still face enormous challenges.” One such challenge is the alarming and infrequently discussed rise in attacks on and murders of LGBT Brazilians. According to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Brazil suffers from the highest rate of transphobic violence in the world, and is cited as the “world’s deadliest place to be transgender.” Last year, at least 250 LGBT people were murdered in Brazil.

On March 2, 2011, a surveillance camera in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte captured the brutal murder of Priscila Brandão, a 22-year-old transvestite shot while walking down the street. Authorities, citing in the rise in violence against transgender people in Brazil, believed the murder to be a hate crime, as opposed to a random act of violence. Human rights organizations globally condemned Brandão’s murder, but her case is just one of many homophobic and transphobic hate crimes that have been piling up over the years in Brazil. According to the Brazilian gay rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia, between 1980 and 2009 over 3,100 homosexuals were murdered in cold-blooded hate crimes in the country.

According to a recently released Amnesty International report on homophobic violence, “the Latin-American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights has identified that the states of Parana and Bahia have the two highest numbers of crimes against homosexuals in the country and at least 15 people were killed in each Brazilian state in 2009, simply for being members of the LGBT community.” In June of last year, São Paolo hosted the largest gay pride parade in the world, with over 3 million attendees. But despite this huge public gathering, Brazil lags behind its neighbor to the southwest, Argentina, when it comes to recognizing gay rights.

The Pan American Health Organization wrote in its 2008 Campaign Against Homophobia report that “within Latin America, Argentina enjoys a reputation of greater tolerance towards sexual diversity,” and on July 15, 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. While Argentine proponents of the measure openly clashed against members of the Roman Catholic Church who stridently opposed it, the senate ultimately voted in favor of the measure. Michael Shifter, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, claimed that the passing of same-sex marriages “reflects the socially liberal culture in Argentina today,” and Nestor Kirchner, former president of Argentina and husband of current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, was vocal in his support of the bill, adding “Argentina must leave discriminatory and Dark Age visions behind.” (The progressive nature of Argentina should not be overstated, though—reproductive rights in both Brazil and Argentina remain extremely restricted.)

Brazilian policymakers have not remained entirely silent on gay rights. On June 4, 2010, then–President Ignácio Lula da Silva signed a decree that a National Day Against Homophobia be commemorated annually on May 17 in Brazil, paying homage to the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization officially removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.

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2011 April 12 – PubMed

Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners
: A Study of Brazilian Men Who Have Sex with Men and Male-to-Female Transgender Persons.

by Carballo-Diéguez A, Balan I, Dolezal C, Mello MB. – HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 15, New York, NY, 10032, USA,

This study assessed the prevalence of recalled childhood sexual experiences with an older partner among men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or male-to-female transgender persons recruited in Campinas, Brazil. It also analyzed associations between such recalled experiences and sexual risk behavior in adulthood. Participants recruited using respondent driven sampling completed a self-administered, computer-based questionnaire, and underwent HIV testing. For data analysis, raw scores were weighted based on participants’ reported network size. Of 575 participants (85% men and 15% transgender), 32% reported childhood sexual experiences with an older partner. Mean age at first experience was 9 years, partners being, on average, 19 years old, and mostly men.

Most frequent behaviors were partners exposing their genitals, mutual fondling, child masturbating partner, child performing oral sex on partner, and child being anally penetrated. Only 29% of the participants who had had such childhood sexual experiences considered it abuse; 57% reported liking, 29% being indifferent and only 14% not liking the sexual experience at the time it happened. Transgender participants were significantly more likely to report such experiences and, compared with men, had less negative feelings about the experience at the time of the interview. No significant associations were found between sexual experiences in childhood and unprotected receptive or insertive anal intercourse in adulthood.

Results highlight the importance of assessing participants’ perception of abuse, regardless of researchers’ pre-determined criteria to identify abuse. MSM and transgender people may experience childhood sexual experiences with older partners differently from other populations (e.g., heterosexuals), particularly in countries with different cultural norms concerning sexuality than those prevalent in Europe and the U.S.

April 22, 2011 – Omipibuense
(Translated from Portuguese)

Ode To Secular State

by Jean Wyllys (Federal Deputy PSOL Rio de Janeiro)
Firstly, I remember that we live in a democratic state of law and secular. For those who do not know what that means, "secular state", clarify: The State, in addition to separate church (any church), has no religious passion, not even staff must be guided by religious dogma nor a fundamentalist interpretations religious texts (any religious texts). In a Secular and Democratic State of Law, the law is the Constitution (and not the Bible or the Koran or the Torah).

Therefore, I, as an elected representative of the Democratic Secular State and Law, not me by the staff that says The Letter of Paul to the Romans, but by the Constitution, or by what is in the Federal Constitution. And this makes clear, as in Article 1, which is the foundation of the Federative Republic of Brazil is the human dignity and in its Article 3 sets main objectives are to build a free society, justice and solidarity and promoting the welfare of all without distinction of origin, race, sex, color, age and other forms of discrimination. The Federative Republic of Brazil is governed in its international relations by the principles of the prevalence of human rights and repudiation of terrorism and racism.

As the defense of human dignity a sovereign principle of the Constitution and all laws north of Brazil, it must be protected by the state and serve to limit the freedom of expression. That is, the limits of freedom of expression of whoever is the human dignity of others. What fanatics and religious fundamentalists have done more in recent years is to violate the human dignity of homosexuals.

His hate speeches have been the backdrop for brutal murders of homosexuals, a scary proposition 200 per year, according to data collected by Grupo Gay da Bahia and Amnesty International. Inciting hatred against homosexuals is, the prompter, an accomplice of the brutal murders of gays and lesbians, as occurred recently in Goiania, where the teenager Adrian Camacho de Almeida, 16, who, according to media reports, was brutally murdered by relatives of his girlfriend because he is gay. Or like what happened in Rio de Janeiro, where the teenager Alexandre Ivo, who was hanged, tortured and killed at age 14 for being effeminate. The PLC 122, for all campaign to misrepresent it in public opinion, is a project that seeks to secure for homosexuals the right to human dignity and life. The PLC 122 does not violate the free speech of anyone, only ensures human dignity of homosexuals, which necessarily puts limits to the abuse of free speech fanatics and fundamentalists who have been practicing in his crusade against LGBT people.

Just as the passage from the Letter of Paul to the Romans that says "homosexuality is an aberration" [sic] are the excerpts from the Bible condoning slavery and the sale of people (Leviticus 25:44-46 – "And as for your slave or your servant to have, shall be the people that are around you, them shall ye buy male and female slaves … "), and stoning of adulterous women (Leviticus 20:27 -" The man or woman who is dead or wizard, shall surely be killed. shall be stoned, and their blood is upon them … ") and violence in general (Deuteronomy 20:13:14 -" And the LORD thy God will give it into thine hand: and every man there is in it with the edge of the sword, except the women and children, and animals, and all that is in the city, all its spoil, take thee, and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, that gave you the LORD thy God … ").

Reading the Bible should lead a healthy and tolerant religion, free from fundamentalism. That is, if not practice slavery and the killing of adulterers as recommended by the Bible, then why does not offend and persecute homosexuals just because it is a passage that fundamentalists interpret as approval for his hateful homophobia. Have not declared war on Christians. Declared my love for life and oppressed and the wronged another. If that attitude is interpreted as a declaration of war on the Christians, I no longer know what is Christianity. Christianity in which I was made – of which my mother, brothers and many friends are part of – values human life, respect for different fold and is dedicated to protecting the weak and oppressed. "I came that they may have life, they ALL have life fully," said Jesus of Nazareth.

No, I do not persecute Christians. This is the most egregious insult you can do about my parliamentary action. But the Christian fundamentalists and fanatics are systematically persecuting the followers of Umbanda and Candomblé, including raids and physical violence against religious communities and lalorixás babalorixás denounced as various newspaper reports: the case of attack by four members of an evangelical church, a center of Umbanda in Catete, in Rio de Janeiro, or that of Bernadette Souza Ferreira dos Santos, Ialorixá and community leader, who was the subject of torture, in Ilheus, while being dragged by the hair and put on an anthill by police evangelicals who wanted to "exorcise her" the devil.

What we have to say? Or is that freedom of belief is a right only of Christians?
Perhaps it is not known, but who pledged in the Federal Constitution, the right to freedom of belief was an atheist of Oba of Ile Axe Opo Xango Aforjá, Jorge Amado. However, fundamentalist Christians want to use that freedom to pursue minority religions and atheists. I repeat: I have not declared war on Christians. I put myself against fanaticism and religious fundamentalism – fanaticism that is present even in the letter left by the killer of 13 children in Realengo in Rio de Janeiro. I reiterate that I will not let enemies of the democratic rule of law try to destroy my image with injuries as those that are part of the matter sent to the Jornal do Brazil. This is an orchestrated action to prevent me from contributing to a fair and caring society. I reiterate that libel and defamation are crimes defined in the Penal Code. I declare love for life, the good of all without prejudice of color, race, sex, age and other forms of prejudice. This is my mission.

April 25, 2011 – Toni Reis, President ABGLT

Brazil inaugurates its National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Persons Council

The Brazilian National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Persons Council held its first ordinary meeting on March 30th and 31st in the country’s capital city Brasília. Human Rights Minister, Maria do Rosário, installed the council members.

The Council’s purposes and attributes were defined by Presidential Decree No. 7.388, dated December 9th 2010. It is a collegiate body of both a consultative a deliberative nature and forms part of the basic structure of the Human Rights Secretariat (HRS), directly linked to the Office of the President of the Republic. Its principal purpose is to formulate and propose guidelines for government actions at national level aimed at combating discrimination and promoting the defence of the rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans persons – LGBT. In addition, the Council will ensure dialogue between organized civil society and the Federal Government, monitoring and performing a watchdog role over public policies.

The Council is comprised of thirty members, divided equally between the Government and civil society, as listed below. The Council’s civil society members were indicated through a selection and qualification process undertaken in accordance with criteria set by Ministerial Ordinance No. 76, dated February 1st 2011. In her speech, the Human Rights Minister further stressed what she has been stating publicly since she was appointed to the post at the end of last year, namely that fighting homophobia is a priority of both the Human Rights Secretariat and the Dilma Rousseff Government.

The Council elected Ramais de Castro Silveira as its first president. Silveira is the HRS’s Secretary for Human Rights Defence and Promotion. Irina Bacci, representing the Brazilian Articulation of Lesbians, was elected Vice-President. Igo Martini (HRS) will be the Council’s Executive Secretary. One of the principle points discussed during the meeting was the organization of the 2nd National LGBT Conference, expected to be held on December 15th to 18th 2011, having as its theme “For a country free from poverty and discrimination: promoting LGBT citizenship”. The 1st LGBT Conference was held in June 2008.

Another highlight of the meeting was the approval of a public statement condemning racist and homophobic remarks made this week by Federal Representative Jair Bolsonaro (PP-RJ). The Council requested that the Federal Solicitor General begin investigations into the alleged crimes of racism and slander against the LGBT population. The Council also discussed the School Without Homophobia project, within the sphere of the Ministry of Education, and approved a motion manifesting its support for the project.

The Council approved the creation of three internal Technical Committees (TC) and a working group, as follows:
• the Permanent TC for the Institutional Articulation, Planning, Budget and Monitoring of the National Plan for the Promotion of LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights;
• the Permanent TC for the Monitoring, Prevention and Combating of violence against the LGBT population;
• the Permanent TC on Legislation and Norms; and
• the Council’s Internal Regulations Working Group, reporting to the TC on Legislation and Norms.

According to Toni Reis, a member of the Council and president of the national civil society organization ABGLT, “this is a fundamental initiative for accompanying and monitoring the implementation of the decisions of the 1st National LGBT Conference. It also completes the ‘tripod of LGBT citizenship’, which ABGLT has pushed for nationally and is pushing for in all Brazil’s states, state capitals and large cities, namely: Plans for the Promotion of LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights, LGBT Coordinations within the governments’ structures, and LGBT Councils as a watchdog body. By instating this Council, Brazil has taken a quality step forward in the fight to reduce violence, discrimination and stigma against the LGBT community”, Reis added.

The entire meeting was broadcast live via internet and drew a lot of attention, reaching the maximum capacity of spectators (500), which is not usually the case with the majority of other council meetings broadcast in this way. The broadcasting of the meeting was made possible by a partnership between the Human Rights Secretariat and the Ministry of Health’s Department of STD, Aids and Viral Hepatitis. In addition to the Council members, other participants at the meeting were Federal Representative Jean Wyllys (PSOL/RJ), representing the Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizenship, and representatives of the Federal Public Prosecution Service and the Federal Labour Inspectorate. The Council’s next meeting will be held on May 19th and 20th. The date marks the week in which ABGLT will hold for the second consecutive year the National March Against Homophobia, as well as being the week in which May 17th will be commemorated as National Day Against Homophobia. In 2009, former president Lula decreed the official recognition of May 17th on the national calendar as the day against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

May 05, 2011 – On Top Magazine

Brazil High Court To Consider Gay Unions

by On Top Magazine Staff
Brazil’s high court will hear a legal challenge to the country’s prohibition on civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Justices will begin hearing arguments on Thursday after opening deliberations on Wednesday, the AFP reported. The challenge was filed by Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral. Cabral’s state recognizes gay couples with civil unions.
An effort to make Brazil the second Latin American country behind Argentina to legalize gay marriage was introduced in March by Representative Jean Wyllys. Gay marriage is also legal in the self-governing city-state of Mexico City, and the nation’s highest court has ruled that all states must recognize such marriages. Uruguay lawmakers are also considering a gay marriage bill.

“Until there is a law regulating homosexual civil union and marriage, the high court’s recognition of a stable union is the best thing that could happen so that gay couples rights are accepted once and for all,” said judge Maria Berenice Dias. The lawsuit is supported by President Dilma Rousseff’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Roberto Gurgel. “When the state refuses to recognize a homosexual (civil) union, it is sacrificing rights that parties to that union have,” Gurgel said.

May 5, 2011 – CBC News

Brazil court OKs same-sex civil unions

The Associated Press – Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled that civil unions between same-sex couples must be allowed in this nation with more Roman Catholics than any other. In a 10-0 vote, with one abstention, the justices decided Thursday that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as heterosexual pairs when it comes to alimony, retirement benefits of a partner who dies, and inheritances, among other issues. The ruling, however, stopped short of legalizing gay marriage. In Latin America, that is legal only in neighbouring Argentina and in Mexico City. Same-sex civil unions granting some rights to homosexual couples are legal in Uruguay and in some states of Mexico outside the capital. Colombia’s constitutional court has granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans.

Brazil’s ruling sets a judicial precedent that must be honoured by all public institutions, including notary publics where civil unions must be registered. "This is a historic moment for all Brazilians, not just homosexuals. This judgment will change everything for us in society — and for the better," said Marcelo Cerqueira, who is with the gay rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia. "Gays, lesbians and transsexuals will be recognized as being more human. We’ll be more accepted by having our rights honoured."

The request for the Supreme Court to recognize civil unions came two years ago from the Brazilian attorney general’s office, largely because legislation that would give same-sex couples the rights enjoyed by married heterosexual couples has been stalled in congress for more than a decade. Brazil’s constitution defines a "family entity" as "a stable union between a man and a woman." But the attorney general’s office argued the clause is only a definition and not a limitation, and thus the charter does not say a stable union can "only" be between a man and a woman. The attorney general also argued that the constitution does not specifically forbid a civil union between people of the same sex — and that failing to recognize same-sex unions violates the charter’s defences of human dignity and equality.

A lawyer representing Brazil’s National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, Jose Sarubbi de Oliveira, argued to the court that the constitution recognizes only a legal partnership between a man and a woman and that the justices would be wrongly interpreting the document to rule otherwise. Oliveira said the document’s lack of an explicit statement that a family partnership is limited to those between a man and a woman did not mean that "every type of union has to be considered."

‘Gays, lesbians and transsexuals will be recognized as being more human. We’ll be more accepted by having our rights honoured.’—Marcelo Cerqueira, gay rights activist

Ralph Lichota, a lawyer representing religious groups, told the court the legal recognition of same-sex couples should be left in the hands citizens. "Power emanates from the people, and the Brazilian people are Christian," he said. "God created marriage when he created Adam and Eve. Just like the Brazilian people aren’t ready to legalize marijuana, like they aren’t prepared to have abortion, we’re not ready for homosexual marriage."

Luis Roberto Barroso, a law professor at Rio de Janeiro State University, argued in a friend-of-the-court appearance before the justicies that allowing same-sex civil unions would mean "overcoming historical discrimination." "The implications of a homosexual relationship are the same as those of a heterosexual one. To not recognize that is to say that the affection they [gays] have has less value and can be disrespected," said Barroso.

Grupo Gay da Bahia said in a recent report that 260 gays were murdered in 2010 in Brazil, up 113 per cent from five years ago. "This ruling will help. The violence comes about because of impunity for those who commit it," said the group’s Cerqueira. "When a country judges a case like this in favour of us, it will have an impact across the judicial and law enforcement sectors."

May 5, 2011 – Reuters

Brazil’s supreme court recognizes gay partnerships

(Reuters) – Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court on Thursday legally recognized homosexual partnerships in a landmark case for gay rights in a country with the world’s largest population of Roman Catholics. Justices at the STF, as the country’s top court is known, voted 10 to zero in favor of gay partnerships, setting a legal precedent in Latin America’s largest country. One justice, Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli, refrained from voting, saying he had dealt previously with related cases. The decision grants gay couples most of the rights enjoyed by heterosexual partners, including pension benefits, inheritance and, some lawyers say, possibly the right to adopt children. Lower courts had ruled both in favor of and against partnerships, which are not governed by a specific law.

"The freedom to pursue one’s own sexuality is part of an individual’s freedom of expression," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, the author of the ruling. The ruling makes Brazil the second South American nation after Argentina to allow gay partnerships. The majority of judges argued that the Constitution did not explicitly rule out gay partnerships and that these were an expression of the right to privacy and equality before the law. Gay activists celebrated the decision, saying the ruling shows the state is willing to defend the rights of citizens regardless of their sexual and race condition.

"The degree of civilization of a country can be measured by the way people in a nation treat their homosexual community," newspaper O Globo’s website cited Claudio Nascimento, head of Rio de Janeiro state’s Gay, Lesbian and Transsexuals Committee, as saying. "It’s a historic day for Brazil."

Brazil’s Roman Catholic Church had argued against the decision, saying the only union the Constitution referred to was that between a man and a woman. "Plurality has its limits," Hugo Jose de Oliveira, a lawyer representing the Brazilian National Bishops Conference, or CNBB, told the court. Church leaders said they would not budge from their position as a result of ruling. About 140 million of Brazil’s 190 million population in 2008 were Roman Catholic.

The case was brought to the court by the government of Rio de Janeiro state and by federal public prosecutors. Most major cities in Brazil have an active and open gay community, and Sao Paulo every year hosts the world’s largest gay parade, with about 3 million people attending. Despite that, the country has struggled with recent episodes of violence against the gay community — including harassment and beatings at central points in Sao Paulo. In rural areas and even in the nation’s capital, Brasilia, gays are often ridiculed and harassed.

(Reporting by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Todd Eastham)

06 May 2011 – O Globo
Portuguese to English translation

Waiting for Congress: Decision of the Supreme to Recognize Homosexual Unions Debate Reopens Debate

by Adriana Vasconcelos, Isabel Braga, Flávio Freire, Catarina Alencastro and Tatiana Farah
Brazilia, Brazil & Sao Paulo – The Supreme Court (STF) has recognized the valid union between same sex couples. This decision should force Congress to reopen the debate to extend the rights of homosexuals in the country. In the Senate, the expectation is that it should also criminalize homophobia, first opened in February by Senator Marta Suplicy (PT). Senator Vanessa Grazziotin (PCdoB-AM) has decided to propose an application to that effect. "Now we need to take further steps, and I think one of the most important request is urgent for the project which criminalizes the practice of homophobia," defended Vanessa.
Rapporteur of the project at the Commission on Human Rights (CDR), Marta Suplicy said she was confident that the decision of the Supreme Court could reduce the resistance in the Senate to the proposal to criminalize homophobia. To facilitate the approval of the proposal, she introduced an amendment that ensures religious freedom to defend their positions against the gay unions in temples or churches, without running the risk of being confrotned by the law.

Congress Has Been Dwarfed
Minister Cesar Peluso (STF President) gave an earful to Congress while reading his vote. Said the Minister, "Congress has been dwarfed in the face of controversial issues."
In the House, the projects that deal with the rights of homosexuals have faced strong resistance from the bench of the Gospel. One of the oldest proposals in favor of ‘stable unions’ between same sex was presented by Marta in 1995. The proposal came to the staff of the House in 2001, but was withdrawn in the face of agreement of the leaders. In 2007, the then deputy Clodovil Hernandez presented a bill advocating the civil contract of gay marriage. Hernandez is today at the Commission on Social Security.

In 2009, a group of 12 MPs showed a similar proposal, suggesting that the Civil Code provisions governing the ‘stable union’ between men and women also applied to gay couples. The matter is also standing before the Commission on Social Security. With opposition from the ‘bench of the Gospel’, none of the proposals will have an easy path. Pastor Eurico (PSB-PE) threatens to introduce a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court decision. And Pastor Marco Feliciano (PSC-SP) is expected to propose a referendum to overturn the outcome of the Supreme Court trial. He believes that if the population has a chance to speak, the result will be different:

Blow to the Brazilian family
According to lawyers, lack of federal legislation does not yet allow civil registration of same sex unions. Although the Supreme Court has recognized the existence of ‘stable unions’ of homosexuals, the ministers themselves have observed on Thursday the need for a law that guarantees gay couples the civil rights of heterosexual couples. Meanwhile, gays and lesbians can register a notarized declaration of civil union but there is nothing that requires notaries to issue marriage certificates. The main change is that the rights recognized in contracts signed by a notary have legal backing in the Supreme Court.

Still, the struggle for justice continues.
It’s the beginning of a solution, but the judiciary does not replace the legislature, only recognizes the existence of a ‘de facto’ situation, which produces legal effects similar to marriage – says the lawyer Dalmo Dallari.
The president of the Association of Notaries and Registrars of Rio, Renaldo Bussiere, reinforced the notion that real changes happen only with the enactment of a law: "Today, a deed with a stable relationship, men and women can put their partners, gay or not, as beneficiaries in health plans, and even in Social Security as dependents of Income Tax."

This statement can even establish property rights. The threat is that these terms could be challenged, and now gained support in the STF.

11 May 2010 – Towleroad

Rio de Janeiro Favela Rocinha’s First Gay Pride

The first-ever Gay Pride in a favela in Rio de Janeiro was held in late October in Rocinha, according to a report on the blog Qualidade de Vida: "There is a commitment to joyfulness, no matter the circumstance. You gotta love that!"

The Santa Barbara Independent also has a report:
From a foreign perspective, the parade might not seem so momentous. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited tourist destination in Latin America, and almost one third of its visitors are part of the global LGBTcommunity. But in such a touristy, socially segregated city, visitors and lower class citizens live in worlds apart. Gay tourists to Rio de Janeiro rarely stray from the gay beach in the Ipanema neighborhood, or the bars and clubs on “gay street,” Farme de Amoedo, directly across from the beach. These visitors will mostly only interact with other gay tourists and Brazilian “Barbies”—the tan, muscular, wealthy gay men whose day job seems to be nearly-naked perching on the beach in Ipanema.

But to be born and raised in a favela poses challenges unfamiliar to the short-term Ipanema tourist. Rocinha has a considerable LGBT community, but the conservative Christian community is much bigger and more powerful. In fact, all favelas are relatively socially conservative in Rio, and have a strong church presence.

25 May 2011 – BBC News

Brazil sex education material suspended by President

President Dilma Rousseff has suspended the distribution and production of sex education films for schools in Brazil. President Rousseff believes the footage is not suitable for youngsters. The education packs contain gay and lesbian video scenes and are supposed to combat homophobia. However, evangelical church groups and their allies in Congress threatened to block any upcoming legislation unless President Rousseff halted the films.

‘Anti-homophobia kits’
A government spokesman said President Rousseff had viewed the material personally and decided to suspend its distribution. "She didn’t like what she saw," Gilberto Carvalho said. He said President Rousseff was unhappy with the footage and believed it did not offer an objective picture of homosexuality. The "anti-homophobia kits", as they are known in Brazil, were about to be rolled out by Brazil’s ministry of health and the ministry of education. Several members of Brazil’s chamber of deputies with strong evangelic Christian beliefs said the sex education packs encouraged homosexual behaviour.

Gay and lesbian rights campaigners have expressed serious concerns. A leading rights campaigner and congressman, Jean Wyllys, said the decision called into question President Rousseff’s commitment to human rights. "I voted for her in the last elections," he said, "because I thought she would defend the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens. If she doesn’t do a U-turn and change her mind, I will urge all gay people not to vote for her again."

26 May 2011 – TruthOut

Latin America Progresses Forward – a Victory for Gay Rights

by Katie Soltis, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
The Brazilian Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex unions in early May marks the latest victory for gay rights in Latin America. The Court’s ruling grants equal legal rights to same-sex civil unions as those enjoyed by married heterosexuals, including retirement benefits, joint tax declarations, inheritance rights, and child adoption. While the Supreme Court did not go so far as to legalize gay marriage, gay rights groups such as Rio de Janeiro’s Rainbow Group have nevertheless praised the decision as an "historic achievement."1 The decision passed 10-0 with one abstention, but the justice who abstained had previously spoken in favor of same-sex unions.

An Unlikely Victory
As the world’s largest Roman Catholic country, Brazil was an unlikely venue for such a promising gay rights victory. The Roman Catholic Church has actively fought proposals for same-sex unions in Brazil, arguing that the Brazilian Constitution defines a "family entity" as "a stable union between a man and a woman."2 The Catholic Church responded to the recent ruling with outrage. As Archbishop Anuar Battisti put it, the Supreme Court’s decision marked a "frontal assault" on the sanctity of the family.3

The Catholic Church is losing its power in Brazil, which helped pave the way for the Supreme Court’s recent decision in favor of homosexuals. Nevertheless, homophobia retains a tenacious grip on Brazilian society. Despite the fact that the nation boasts the world’s largest gay pride parade, the LGBT movement has been unable to achieve fundamental progress and quell discrimination at a societal level. For instance, Marcelo Cerqueira, the head of the Gay Group of Bahia, claims the country is "number one when it comes to assassination, discrimination and violence against homosexuals."4 Additionally, in a disconcerting report, the Gay Group of Bahia found that 260 Brazilian gay people were murdered in 2010, exemplifying the level of hostility towards homosexuals. Because of this discriminating environment, gay rights activists traditionally have had little success in Brazil. Most notably, Congress disregarded proposals for gay rights legislation for nearly ten years.

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling was therefore a major turning point after a history of protracted, unsuccessful struggles. The judicial decision was made in response to two lawsuits, one of which was filed by Rio de Janeiro Governor Sérgio Cabral and the other by the Office of the Attorney General. While Congress repeatedly ignored requests for equal rights for gay Brazilian citizens, the Supreme Court argued that "Those who opt for a homosexual union cannot be treated less than equally as citizens."6 In this way, by appealing to the judicial system, the LGBT movement was able to achieve success despite deep-seated hostility throughout Brazilian society and in other branches of the government.

Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution
Professor Omar Encarnación of Bard College calls the recent string of gay rights legislation in Latin America a "gay rights revolution."7 Brazil’s ruling came on the heels of several other noteworthy gay rights victories in Latin America, such as Uruguay’s legalization of same-sex civil unions in 2007. Shortly thereafter, in 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American nation and eighth nation worldwide to legalize gay marriage. Other landmark decisions in the past few years include Uruguay’s decision to allow all men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, to serve in the military and Mexico City’s legalization of same-sex civil unions.

Read article

25 June 2011 – BBC

Brazil gay rights progress highlights deep divisions

by Beth McLoughlin – Rio de Janeiro
Upwards of a million people are expected to party under the rainbow flag in Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, on Sunday in the 15th Gay Pride March. Participants have a lot to celebrate, including a ruling in May by the Supreme Court that recognised the rights of same-sex couples regarding their rights to visit each other in hospital and jointly own property in the same way married couples do. But despite the partying set to take place in Brazil’s cosmopolitan metropolis, the march has not been without controversy.
Leaflets given out by City Hall advised participants to avoid "scandalous" clothes – a move criticised by the march’s organisers who said they were not consulted.

Life cut short
Homophobia is a problem across Brazil, often in the smaller towns and cities. In some instances this manifests itself in violence. According to gay rights campaigners, there were 260 murders of gays, lesbians or transvestites in Brazil last year. They estimate there have been 65 killings so far this year. Someone who experienced Brazil’s homophobia is Angelica Ivo from Sao Goncalo, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.
In June last year, her 14-year-old son, Alexandre, was beaten and strangled to death by skinheads who suspected him of being gay after seeing him at a party.

The suspects have not been prosecuted due to a lack of evidence. "They didn’t know my son, they had only seen him at the party. He hadn’t had any sexual experiences yet, either with boys or girls. He was just starting his life. He never fought with anyone, and hated violence. I can’t understand how anyone could have such hate inside themselves that they could do this," says Ms Ivo.

She says will continue to fight for justice for her son. "Brazil is a very hypocritical society, it pretends to be tolerant but it isn’t. We have the best carnival in the world and it appears that everyone lives together harmoniously, yet gay couples still can’t kiss in public," Ms Ivo says. Every time we have a march to promote tolerance, the Church groups organise an even bigger one in the name of the family."

Ms Ivo recently presented a petition to Brazil’s Senate asking for the approval of a law that would criminalise homophobia. Although a law from 1989 forbids prejudice on the grounds of race, colour, religion, or national origin, there is no legislation relating to homophobic crimes. "If this law already existed, many crimes would not have been committed," says Ms Ivo.

Kit controversy
Activists can point to some changes in recent months.
As well as the court ruling granting more rights for same-sex couples, an awareness campaign in Rio called "Rio Sem Homofobia" (Rio without homophobia), was launched by city authorities in May. "Things have got a bit better, with gays and lesbians more visible than before, and some changes in the law. But change needs to start in schools, training teachers as well as children," says Jandira Queiroz of Rio’s Sexual Policy Watch. This is a very conservative country, and still a very macho society… If you go to the countryside, you will find even more machismo. It is common to hear people say it is better your son was dead than gay."

In a sign of sensitivity over the issue, President Dilma Rousseff decided not to go ahead with planned "anti-homophobia kits", sex education films supposed to combat homophobia. She said the material did not give an objective view of homosexuality. At the time, President Rousseff said the government would defend education and the fight against homophobia. "However, the government cannot allow any group to make propaganda relating to sexual orientation. We cannot interfere in people’s private lives," she said.

Ms Rousseff’s decision came after Church groups and their allies in Congress protested and threatened to block any forthcoming legislation unless the education packs were pulled. Federal deputy Anthony Garotinho said that the films focused on sexual orientation without tackling prejudice. "Public money should be used to to combat homophobia and not stimulate sexual options," said Mr Garotinho, one of the leaders of the evangelical bloc in Congress.

State representative and evangelical singer Mara Lima, a vocal opponent of the kits, commented after the decision: "This is a victory for the family." The popular media also reflects the divisions of opinion in Brazil. Former international footballer Edmundo caused a stir when he told O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, in response to speculation that his son may be gay: "No-one wants to have a homosexual son." He later explained that this was because of the prejudice they could suffer. While transsexual and homosexual contestants have appeared on Big Brother, television debates about homophobia have also featured far-right commentator and Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who has compared gay marriage to legalising paedophilia.

With "Straight Pride" trending this past week on Twitter in Brazil, Sunday’s partygoers have as much to mull over as to celebrate.

June 26, 2011 – Gay Pride Brazil

Gay Pride Sao Paulo History
– The Sao Paulo Gay Pride celebrates over 15 years of remarkable success.

The Sao Paulo Brazil Gay Pride Parade (Parada do Orgulho Gay de Sao Paulo, Brasil) and its associated events are organized by the APOGLBT – Associacao da Parada do Orgulho de Gays, Lesbicas, Bissexuais e Travestis e Transexuais since its foundation in 1999.

For the upcoming 2012 Parade, to be held on Sunday June 10 at the same Avenida Paulista, the theme should again be related to the political debate on gay rights and citizenship, in an year where the gay community is trying to consolidate its many victories on marriage and same-sex rights in Brazil. The theme can also be centered on Homophobia where the gay communities are searching for a more just law for those who practice any form of violence based on sexual orientation.

A non-profit organization, the APOGLBT’s mission is to fight for a more just and inclusive society, which recognizes equal rights for all. The association has served to promote citizenship and self-esteem of LGBT by conducting and encouraging activities of all kinds. The almost 16 years of success reflect the seriousness of the organization with its principles and goals. The Month of LGBT Pride in Sao Paulo was born from the experience of organizing parades and has added more activities with the years such as The Cycle of Debates, the LGBT Cultural Fair, the Citizenship Award in Respect of Diversity, and the successful Gay Day, that happens on the Saturday before the main parade.

June 27, 2011 – The Washington Post

Brazilian judge gives male couple approval for what court says is country’s first gay marriage

by AP
Sao Paulo — A Brazilian state judge on Monday approved what the court said is the nation’s first gay marriage.
Sao Paulo state Judge Fernando Henrique Pinto ruled two men could convert their civil union into a full marriage. Brazil’s Supreme Court cleared the way in May for the recognition of same-sex civil unions, but stopped short of approving gay marriages. A court statement said Pinto made the decision based on the top court’s ruling on civil unions and on Brazil’s constitution, which outlines how a civil union can be converted into a legal marriage.

Benjamin Polastri, a spokesman with the Sao Paulo state Attorney General’s Office, said it was not immediately clear if the ruling set a strong national precedent. Polastri also said the just-approved gay marriage was the first for South America’s biggest nation. Jose Luiz Bednarski, a lawyer for the Sao Paulo state attorney general, said in an opinion presented to Pinto that the marriage was legal. “The federal constitution establishes as a fundamental objective of the Federal Republic of Brazil to promote the good of everyone without bias of gender or any other form of discrimination,” Bednarski wrote. “This certainly includes the choice or sexual orientation of a person.”

In the Brazilian legal system, judges often seek the opinion of a state or federal attorney general about a case. After-hours calls were not answered at the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, whose lawyers took the lead in arguing against the Supreme Court’s civil union case. While the court released only the initials of the couple that was married, the Globo television network’s G1 website identified the men as Sergio Kauffman Sousa and Luiz Andre Moresi. They asked a state court in the city of Jacarei, 53 miles (85 kilometers) northeast of Sao Paulo, to approve their marriage. “It’s an immense joy. I’m still trying to comprehend this historic moment,” Moresi told G1. “We’ve fought for so many years and now that it’s happened we’re in ecstasy. I dedicate this victory to all the activists.”

Luiz Mott, founder of Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest gay rights organization in Brazil, called the marriage a huge step for LGBT rights in the country. “Now any couple can ask for the same thing. It’s a great advance,” he said. In Latin America, gay marriage is legal only in Argentina and Mexico City. Same-sex civil unions granting some rights to homosexual couples are legal in Uruguay and in some states of Mexico outside the capital. Colombia’s Constitutional Court has granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans.

Moresi said that he knew the Sao Paulo state court’s ruling could be reversed by a higher court, but that “we’ll take the case to the Supreme Court if needed.” Sousa told G1 that he and Moresi had been together for eight years and filed for civil union designation in May, less than two weeks after the Supreme Court ruling allowed them to do so. On June 6, they asked the state court to recognize their civil union as a marriage. Pinto cited the Brazilian Constitution’s section on civil unions, literally referred to as “stable unions,” saying a couple “living together can, by mutual agreement and at any time, request the conversion of a stable union into a marriage.”

Monday’s decision, along with the May ruling by the Supreme Court on civil unions, comes at a time of increasing violence targeting gays in Brazil. Grupo Gay da Bahia, which has tracked violence against gays for 30 years, said in a report earlier this year that 260 gays were murdered in 2010 in Brazil, up 113 percent from five years ago.

June 2011 – The Brazilian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Association (ABGLT)

Description of The Brazilian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Association

To promote the citizenship and defend the rights of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and trans persons, contributing towards the construction of a democracy free from all forms of discrimination, affirming free sexual orientation and gender identities.
The Brazilian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Association – ABGLT, was created in the city of Curitiba on January 31st 1995, by 31 founding member groups.

Today ABGLT is a national network of 237 organizations, comprised of 181 LGBT groups and a further 56 organizations involved with human rights and AIDS in general. It is the largest LGBT network in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Currently ABGLT’s priority areas include:
– monitoring the Brazil Without Homophobia Programme;
– combating AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases;
– defending the right to free sexual orientation and gender identity in the Mercosul;
– advocacy in order to approve laws and ensure government budget for affirmative public policies for LGBT;
– building the capacity of lesbian leaders in human rights and advocacy;
– building the capacity of legal professionals with regard to LGBT citizenship issues;
– promoting the Lay State and combating religious fundamentalism.

Principles and Values
Ethics, Transparency, Commitment, Integrity, Diversity and Solidaridity.

Forces united towards conquering an Equalitarian Society.

Read more

August 12, 2011 – The New York Times

Foreigners Follow Money to Booming Brazil, Land of $35 Martini

by Simon Romero
Rio De Janeiro — Pondering the financial storms lashing Europe and the United States, Seth Zalkin, a casually dressed American banker, sipped a demitasse and seemed content with his decision to move here in March with his wife and son.
“If the rest of the world is cratering, this is a good place to be,” said Mr. Zalkin, 39. For those with even the dimmest memories of Brazil’s own debt crisis in the 1980s, the global order has been turned on its head. The American economy may be crawling along, but Brazil’s grew at its fastest clip in more than two decades last year and unemployment is at historic lows, part of the nation’s transformation from inflationary basket case into one of Washington’s top creditors.

With compensation rivaling that on Wall Street, so many foreign bankers, hedge fund managers, oil executives, lawyers and engineers have moved here that prices for prime office space surpassed those in New York this year, making Rio the costliest city in the Americas to lease it, according to the real estate company Cushman & Wakefield. A gold rush mind-set is in full swing, with foreign work permits surging 144 percent in the past five years and Americans leading the pack of educated professionals putting down stakes.

Businessmen have long been drawn to Brazil, along with get-rich-quick confidence men, dreamers of Amazonian grandeur and even outlaws like Ronald Biggs, the Briton who absconded here after his 1963 Great Train Robbery. But now schools catering to American and other English-speaking families have long waiting lists, apartments can cost $10,000 a month in coveted parts of Rio and many of the newcomers hold Ivy League degrees or job experience at the pillars of the global economy. Once here, they find a country facing a very different challenge than do the United States and Europe: fears that the economy is getting too hot.

One particular shock for newcomers is the strength of Brazil’s currency, the real. That may help Brazilians snapping up apartments in places like South Beach in Miami, where properties cost about a third of their equivalents in Rio’s exclusive districts. But it also hurts the country’s manufacturers and exporters. So in a bid to prevent it from going even higher, Brazil is now one of the biggest buyers of United States Treasury securities, becoming a larger stakeholder in the ailing American economy. That is a sharp break from the past, when Washington helped cobble together bailout packages for Brazil’s financial crises.

“Brazil is doing great, but honestly, every other week I ask myself, ‘When is this going to end?’ ” said Mark Bures, 42, an American executive who moved here in 1999, just in time to see an abrupt devaluation of the currency and other sharp swings in Brazil’s fortunes.

August 18, 2011 – Diario Commercio Industria
Portuguese to English translation

Minister Launches National Caravan of Human Rights

The Secretariat of Human Rights (SDH) of the Presidency launches this Thursday in Fortaleza (CE) Caravan Human Rights in Brazil, which will tour the country to bring about public policies and identify violations of rights humans.
The Minister of SDH, Maria do Rosario, said that the caravan wants to consolidate a "culture of human rights in Brazil" and bring citizens of their rights. "We want to show that human rights relate to citizenship, education, health, quality public services, access to basic education, information," listed.

The actions of the caravan will be promoted in partnership with state and municipal governments, the judiciary and local civil society organizations. The program includes seminars, lectures, workshops and public hearings and the provision of services such as issuance of birth certificates and other documents.

"We will discuss topics such as youth in conflict with the law, juvenile mortality, the situation in prisons. The information on human rights can lead us to live in a country that, increasingly strong, say no to violence and produce values to overcome prejudices, to be with people with disabilities, the traditional, black, {LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transvestites, transsexuals and transgendered}, indigenous peoples, "the minister said. In the first stage, the caravan will go through at least to a capital of each region.

August 25, 2011 –

Fight for Gay Rights Making Strides

by Fabíola Ortiz
Rio De Janeiro (IPS) – Brazil is making progress in cracking down on homophobia and upholding the rights of homosexuals. The latest step was the introduction in Congress of a bill on sexual diversity, sponsored by the bar association in consultation with civil society. The 109-article bill, which would reform 132 legal provisions, was drafted by a special commission of experts set up by the Federal Council of the national bar association (OAB), who received some 200 suggestions and contributions from activists and social movements over the last four months.

The chief aim is to guarantee the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) population, protect freedom of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender equality, as well as the right to form a family, and fight discrimination, lawyer Maria Berenice Dias, who presides over the OAB’s Special Commission on Sexual Diversity, told IPS.

"So far there is no law recognising LGBT rights. I have been working in the area of gay rights for 10 years," said Dias, who set up the OAB commission on Apr. 15. "We saw the need for broad legislation on this question in Brazil, which has laws protecting children, people with special needs and others, but not homosexuals," she said. But she noted the historic unanimous ruling handed down by the Supreme Court on May 5, recognising same-sex civil unions.

The verdict helped paved the way for homosexual couples to gain access to rights like a pension, inheritance, and the adoption of children. "It took a decade to achieve that legal recognition by the courts," said Dias. On Wednesday, the first same-sex civil union was legalised in the state of Rio de Janeiro, between the superintendent of Rio de Janeiro’s Secretariat of Social Assistance and Human Rights, 40-year-old Cláudio Nascimento, and 39-year-old naval officer João Batista da Silva, who have lived together for 12 years.

"This is a watershed for my generation," Nascimento told IPS. "We never expected this to happen. I see it as an achievement that guarantees us greater security and maneuvering room to forge ahead with our life plans." Civil unions, he added, help the gay community fight for their rights. "Intolerance still exists, but this is a huge victory," he said. But Dias complains that Congress has not yet recognised the rights of homosexuals, as both the judicial and executive branches have done. To that end, the OAB drew up the bill on sexual diversity, "which upholds the principle of dignity."

"The most significant article is the one that underscores the basic right to happiness in the public sphere, in the family, and in educational and professional development. Discrimination simply must not be allowed," Dias said. Along with the bill on sexual diversity, a proposed constitutional amendment was presented to Congress Tuesday. The amendment would penalise discrimination for gender orientation and identity, grant 180 days of parental leave to any parent, and make same-sex marriage legal in Brazil.

"The draft amendment is based on the concept of a stable relationship being between two people, and not just between a man and a woman," she said. "In the proposal we also replaced the terms ‘maternity’ and ‘paternity’ leave with ‘birth’ leave, which is more democratic and egalitarian."

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October 9, 2011 – The Washington Post

Nearly 700,000 people join in parade to celebrate gay pride at Rio’s Copacabana beach

by AP
Rio De Janeiro — Authorities in Brazil say nearly 700,000 people have celebrated in a gay pride parade at Copacabana beach
Many participants waved rainbow flags and wore lavish Carnival costumes as loud music blasted from more than 15 sound trucks in Sunday’s festivities.

Gay men, lesbians and cross-dressers danced and cheered to demands that Brazil enact more laws against homophobia in Latin America’s biggest nation. Organizers had hoped for nearly 1.5 million people at the 16th annual parade, but Rio de Janeiro police tell the newspaper the O Globo and other local media that about 700,000 were present.

27 October 2011 – Global Voices

Brazil: Is the Ruling Party an LGBT Ally?

Marcelo Gerald published a series of posts (part 1, 2 and 3) [pt] on the blog Eleições Hoje (Elections Today), that analyses the position of the ruling party in Brazil, PT (Worker’s Party), towards the LGBT community.

November 6, 2011 – All Out

Stand with Brazil’s "Equality Moms"

Update: Nov 6, 2011. Equality Moms "show their faces" on Avenida Paulista, the busy Avenue in São Paulo that has been the scene of dozens of homophobic hate crimes in 2011. Photos Here.

Update: Oct. 9 2011: Equality Moms with their own float at the Rio pride parade! See Photos From The Parade! Here

Update: Sept 30, 2011: Half a dozen Equality Moms took their campaign to the capital yesterday, where they spoke with legislators and the media, and unveiled a powerful photo exhibition in the halls of Congress, with images of Equality Moms and their families all over Brazil. See Photos From The Launch Here

"I’d rather have a dead son than a gay son." These words, recently spoken by a prominent member of Congress as an appeal to Brazil’s "family values," made Eleonora Pereira angry. Eleonora’s son, Jose Ricardo, was murdered a year ago—victim of a rising tide of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in Brazil. Eleonora told us that the family values she knows are those shared by mothers all over the world: refusing to see your child insulted, injured, or even killed simply because of who they are. And Eleonora is not alone.

On September 29th, our group of "Equality Moms" in Brazil are traveling to Congress to demand support for a proposed Anti-Homophobia bill that would protect ALL Brazilians from violence and discrimination. Will you take a moment to sign and share the statement the moms will deliver to Congress—and to their fellow Brazilians—affirming Equality as the true family value?

08 November, 2011 –

Drag Squadron Project starts in San Paulo Arouche Square for LGBTs

Last Sunday, November 6, 2011, the Secretary of Participation and Partnership (SMPP) with Coordination Issues Sexual Diversity (Cads) and the Office of Gender and Ethnic Culture, the State Department of Culture, started the project Squadron drags in Sao Paulo. The aim is to disseminate information, citizenship and prevention for LGBT frequenters of Arouche Square.

Armed with material with tips on safety, drugs and alcohol, rights and prevention of public spaces, drags Dindry Buck, Sissi Girl Nyna Ca$h and Cindy Crystal disclosed the information in a playful and relaxed.