Brazil has hit an all-time level of violent deaths among LGBT people.
According to a new report, 445 LGBT Brazilians died in 2017 a 30% increase from 2016 according to Grupo Gay de Bahia an LGBT watchdog group.
387 were murders and 58 suicides. One example is Dandara dos Santos, a transsexual woman who was beaten to death. A video of her being kicked and beaten circulated on social media with those around her using homophobic slurs.
Brazil is considered one of the most violent countries in the world with a record 62,000 homicides in 2016. Luis Mott, an anthropologist, and president of Grupo Gay de Bahia state that much of the violence can be contributed to the countries prominence of ultra-conservative politicians, most who are connected to the powerful evangelical caucus in Congress.
“It’s a discourse that destroys solidarity and equates LGBT people to animals,” he said.
Homophobic speech is not a federal crime in Brazil, while state and municipal laws are never enforced or effective.
“In the last decade Brazil looked to produce policies that could protect vulnerable groups like gay and trans people but they mostly failed, due to lack of investment or change in vision of policy,” said Jurema Werneck, executive director at Amnesty International Brazil.
To the world, Brazil’s image is perceived as an inclusive nation that is home to the world’s largest gay pride parade and gay marriage is legal.
But the country has a long and strong conservative steak as well: one of the leading candidates in this year’s presidential election is former army captain Jair Bolsonaro who has said that gay children can be “beaten straight”. And Victório Galli last year said that Mickey Mouse was a homosexual infiltrator and Disney was an apologist for “gayness” sending subliminal messages to children.
This past September, a Brazilian judge approved gay “conversion therapy”, just a week after an exhibition of gay art was canceled.