Jair Bolsonaro, who has long been public about his opposition to LGBTQ rights, signed the order as one of his first actions upon taking office.
Marilyn Drew Necci | January 7, 2019
We’re not the only country in the Western Hemisphere who’s seen far-right leaders rise to power behind the will of a disaffected segment of the population. Indeed, Brazil’s LGBTQ citizens may have even more to fear from newly-inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro than we do from Trump.
Bolsonaro, who has referred to himself as “homophobic — and very proud of it,” made good on his stated prejudices toward LGBTQ people and other Brazilian minority groups immediately upon taking office. Almost immediately, he signed an Executive Order removing LGBTQ issues from consideration by his government’s human rights ministry.
This is apropos considering his new human rights minister, a former evangelical Christian pastor named Damares Alves, who has publicly stated her own opposition to LGBTQ rights in the past. In her first speech as minister, she made a point to reinforce the cultural notion of gender roles as strictly binary and rigidly defined. “Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes,” she said, according to GayStarNews. “There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.”
Bolsonaro’s new Foreign Minister, Ernesto Araujo, also took shots against the LGBTQ community, according to Associated Press, referring to LGBTQ people as “those that say they are not men and women.”
Bolsonaro’s election caused widespread fear among Brazil’s LGBTQ community. The country has had marriage equality for five years, but many couples rushed to get married before Bolsonaro took office, fearing that Bolsonaro would outlaw same-sex marriages once he gained power.
Symmy Larrat, a Brazilian LGBTQ activist, told the AP that “the human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called secretariat of promotion and defense of human rights. That body just disappeared, just like that. We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues.”
Bolsonaro, who was congratulated on twitter after his inauguration by none other than US President Donald Trump, also took aim at indigenous Brazilians and those descended from slaves in other Executive Orders signed into law on his first day in office. However, rich Brazilians were stoked about their oppressive new president — the Sao Paulo stock market jumped 3.56 points to a record closing. Ugh.