With Brazil facing a continued rise in anti-LGBTI hate crimes, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled that homophobia and transphobia are to be made illegal.
The landmark decision, which saw six of the eleven judges concluding that it would be unconstitutional to exclude sexual orientation and gender from Brazil’s existing anti-discrimination law, follows the news that hate crimes in the South American nation are continuing to rise.
The ruling which will only be made official after the remaining five judges vote on the matter in early June will officially mean that homophobia and transphobia will be covered under the country’s anti-racism law until legislators enact legislation specifically protecting LGBTQ people.
According to the BBC, Supreme Court Vice-President Luiz Fux said that “homophobic crimes are as alarming as physical violence,” before adding that Brazil was beset by “epidemic levels of homophobic violence.”
Despite LGBTI Brazilians having access to rights including marriage equality, and the right of adoption, according to the organisation Grupo Gay da Bahia, the nation has the world’s highest LGBTI murder rate, with 420 LGBTI people killed in 2018.
The anti-LGBTI sentiment is also reported to be rising and fueled by the election of openly homophobic President Jair Bolsonaro in 2018, who recently told reporters that he doesn’t want gay tourists coming to Brazil because “we have families.”
In 2002, Bolsonaro was quoted as saying “If I see two men kissing each other in the street, I’ll whack them.” In 2011, he commented that “I would be incapable of loving a gay son,” adding that he would, “rather my son died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache.”
Bolsonaro is also reported to equated homosexuality to paedophilia and has suggested that most homosexuals who are murdered are sex workers and not worthy of protection through legislation – something his Supreme Court disagrees with him on.