While Brazil is in the midst of a very contentious presidential election, there is some good coming out of the country politically. This good comes in the form of Érica Malunguinho.
Érica Malunguinho made history as the first trans woman to win a spot in state congress in São Paulo. Malunguinho was one of more than 50 trans people running for office during the 8 October election.
According to AfroPunk, the 36-year-old was raised by a single mother in a small household with her extended family. She was surrounded by a lot of African and Indigenous culture growing up. Her mom was the only educated member of the family and worked as a nurse to support everyone.
‘We all knew we were Black, but when you’re Black in Brazil, you also suffer racism within the family,’ Malunguinho told AfroPunk. ‘We were always comparing who had the widest nose, or the nappiest hair.’
Soon after finishing high school, Malunguinho moved to São Paulo and began living as a woman.
‘I was always trans. I was living a gay life and a trans life at the same time.’
Over the next decade, Malunguinho earned several degrees and was married twice. Formerly an educator, she is now working to fight Brazil’s racism in the political sphere.
In 2016, she opened Aparelha Luzia, an urban community space created for black people to celebrate their culture and heritage.
‘[Malunguinho] wanted to create a cultural space in São Paulo where black people could freely celebrate their blackness and maintain the longevity of black culture while feeling protected,’ writes Kiratiana Freelon for OkayAfrica.
‘The space hosts events almost every night of the week: intellectual get-togethers, hip-hop battle session, black kid’s playdates, everything. More than 200,000 people have passed through its doors.’
‘Malunguinho’s win is a major milestone for Brazil’s black and LGBTQ communities,’ writes Damola Durosomo for OkayAfrica. ‘Her win is seen as a source of hope for minority groups in the country who fear their rights are under threat by highly controversial candidates like Bolsonaro, who won the first round of votes on Monday and who many consider “a risk to democracy.”’
Former student Ricky Windmann said he was sexually abused by Peter Modica, a janitor at the Catholic boys school, the New Orleans Advocate reports.
Windmann claims the abuse began in the 1970s when Modica led him into the maintenance office and forcibly performed oral sex on him.
The New Orleans Advocate reports:
The janitor would go on to sexually abuse the adolescent several more times in the ensuing years… Similar incidents would unfold every few weeks or so for a couple of years. Monica’s assaults eventually escalated into anal rape - including on time when a school fair was unfolding within earshot.
Windmann tried to resist, however, Modica would say it was ok and urged him not to tell anyone. “If you say anything, who’s your mom going to believe, me or you?” Windmann recalls Modica saying.
According to the New Orleans Advocate:
Windmann said he’s never forgotten the despair her felt the two times other adults at Jesuit witnessed the abuse but didn’t get him help. The first time it happened, Modica was abusing Windmann in the on-campus Chapel of the North American Martyrs. A layperson came in, someone Windmann didn’t know. That Person simply said, “Goddamn it, Pete,” before leaving.
But that is nothing compared to what happened when witnessed a second time. While Modica was raping Windmann, Rev. Cornelius “Neil” Carr walked into the room.
The New Orleans Advocate reports:
A priest, Windmann thought, would surely put Modica in his place. Instead, the priest walked over, put one hand on the middle of Windmann’s back and said, “Relax.” Then Carr began masturbating as Modica continued to rape him, Windmann said.
Jesuit quietly paid Windmann a $450,000 settlement six years ago, just around the time, the school settled two other abuse claims involving two other former employees, details of those settlements remain sealed. Windmann decided to speak out after the school failed to disclose his settlement or publicly acknowledge the sexual abuse he suffered. “We know that there’s systematic and institutionalized abuse of children …and (ending) this should be the top priority,” he says. “I was born a Catholic. This is my church. We, the parishioners, the abuse victims, need to take our church back because that’s what Jesus–what God–would want us to do.”
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.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian presidential frontrunner was stabbed while attending a campaign rally.
The far-right politician who is often controversial for his social views had a knife pierce his intestines while standing in the center of a crowd. Has was taken to a nearby hospital and underwent two-hour emergency surgery. Bolsonaro is a former army captain and if often referred to as the “Brazilian Trump.” He is extremely pro-gun, anti-abortion and anti-gay with a history of making inflammatory remarks about gay people, people of different races and women.
He has equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and said that he would be “incapable of loving a gay son” and that if, god forbid, he did have a gay son, he would hope to see him “die in an accident”.
Lucky for his son Flavio, he’s straight.
However, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It seems that Flavio takes after his father’s anti-gay policies and has said on the record “normal is to be heterosexual” and “I doubt that any father is proud to have a gay son.”
Bolsonaro has also said some offensive things including that Congresswoman Maria do Rosario was “not worth raping; she is very ugly” and using racist slurs against Afro-Brazilians.
Flavo twitted after his father was stabbed: “Unfortunately it was more serious than we had expected. He lost a lot of blood, arrived at the hospital with a [blood] pressure of 10/3, almost dead. His condition now seems stabilized. Pray, please!”
A few hours later, he posted an update on his father’s condition, along with a picture of him smiling in his hospital bed: “Jair Bolsonaro is stronger than ever and ready to be elected president of Brazil in the first round! God has just given us one more sign that good will overcome evil! Thank you to all who have given us strength in this very difficult time! Brazil above all, God above all!”
The politician is recovering in intensive care and is expected to spend about a week there. Adelo Bispo de Oliveira the man suspected of stabbing him has been arrested after being beaten by a group of Bolsonaro’s supporters.
The Human Rights Watch condemned the attack.
“Political or ideological differences should only be resolved through democratic processes, and never through violence,” the watchdog group said in a statement. “The Brazilian authorities should carry out a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into this crime, and ensure that justice is served.”
India's Supreme Court in a historic ruling handed down a decision that makes homosexuality no longer a criminal offence.
In a unanimous Supreme Court decision, that court ended the countries sodomy ban. "Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates fundamental rights," wrote Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
One of the Justices, Indu Malhotra, said that "history owes an apology to LGBTQ people."
It was cause for celebration across the country for the LGBTQ community.
People on Instagram began to post images as people welcomed the news by sharing their favorite photos from Pride Celebrations:
The Australian government is being criticized by human rights organizations for not approving a visa application for Chelsea Manning.
Manning was scheduled to speak at a series of events, but will now instead appear via video-link from New Zealand from September 7 and September 11 by event organizer Think Inc.
You might remember Manning who was imprisoned for seven years for leaking classified U.S. military document in 2010. She was released in 2017 after her original 35-year sentence was commuted by President Obama.
Several human rights groups have voiced their displeasure at the Australian government for not approving Manning’s visa application, stating it’s restriction on freedom of speech.
Claire Mallinson, Amnesty International Australia’s national director, said: “By failing to approve a visa for Chelsea Manning, our government has silenced an important voice on human rights and in doing so sends a message to the people of Australia, and to the international community, that this new Australian government places little value on freedom of speech.”
Manning will speak about being a whistleblower, LGBT, and human rights activist.
The executive director of the Human Rights Law Center Hugh de Kretser said: “As a democracy, we should be encouraging not banning contributions from people like Chelsea Manning.
“This is yet another example highlighting the need for far stronger checks and balances over the Minister’s powers under migration laws.”
Paul Oosting, national director of left-wing lobby group Getup!, said the decision amounted to “denying Australians the opportunity to engage in conversation with a renowned human rights whistleblower.”
It appears that Pope Francis knew who Kim Davis was when he met with her in 2015, according to a former Vatican official.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò responded to an account from Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of sexual abuse, in a New York Times article claiming otherwise.
Cruz stated that Francis, in an audience with Holiness, told his that Viganò smuggled Davis into a private meeting at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C., and at the time the Pope did not know who Davis was at the time.
Francis discovered the controversy surrounding Davis (the Kentucky clerk who refused to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples) “I was horrified and I fired that nuncio,” said Francis, in Cruz's account.
From 2011 to 2016 Viganò served as the nuncio, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States. Archbishop Christophe Pierre replaced him after the media firestorm sparked by the meeting with Davis. This meeting could have derailed Francis’s visit to the U.S.
In a letter published on the conservative website LifeSite, Cruz’s claims "Faced with the pope’s reported statement, I feel obliged to recount the events as they really unfolded," he wrote in a three-page statement.
"One of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope? What is certain is that the pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience," he stated.
Davis and her attorneys from the Liberty Counsel announced in September 2015, that “Kim Davis and her husband met with Pope Francs, who her to “stay strong.”
The announcement was headline news for weeks and in response, Vatican officials stated that: “The session was not private — the Davises were among several dozen people in a papal reception— and that the pope did not discuss the details of her situation.”
“His meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” a Vatican spokesman said at the time.
In August Viganò called for the Pope to resign, saying that the Pope knew about allegations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused boys and young men but failed to take action. Francis has not responded to the accusations.
Viganò's letters came as the Catholic Church is under heavy scrutiny when a report reviled that leaders possibly covered up nearly 1,000 instances of child abuse by clergymen in Pennsylvania. Viganò like many conservatives in the church blames gay men for the culture of abuse. It is assumed that Viganò and others are politically motivated, especially when Pope Francis said: "Who am I to judge?" after he was asked about gay priests.
Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University told slate: “Viganò is just using the Western church, and American Catholicism, and the shock caused by the revelations against Cardinal McCarrick, to make his own personal case against the Vatican, which expelled him and didn’t make him a cardinal.”
Just imagine a handsome, young Mike Pence, playing his guitar, outgoing and friendly. Supports the Democratic Party, and gay rights.
Well, times have certainly changed.
A new report released by CNN, an ongoing profile series now on Veep highlights Mike Pence, his current religious beliefs and how it has shaped his personality as a young man, and his governing philosophy. CNN interviewed acquaintances and friends who knew Pence during his years at Hanover College. Detailing his character, his sudden religious “conversion” which turned a curious young man into a “rigid, condescending and exclusionary” politician.
Here a short list of the most shocking revelations from the report that details how Pence went from friendly to freaky.
Pence was once a Democrat.
Pence like his grandfather who was an immigrant supported the Democratic Party. He also was seen at campus parties, maintained friendships with classmates – this included women – and joined a fraternity Phi Gamma Delta. That appeared to change in 1978 after a religious epiphany.
Pence went through a “come to Jesus” moment.
While at Hanover, Pence became the leader with Vespers, a musical group playing Christian-themed music. It was at a Christian music festival that Pence underwent a religious awakening – in which he has described many times. According to CNN friends notices a shift in his personality as Pence became a “devoted” follower of God.
Pence began to rat out his frat brothers.
Beer and Fraternities go hand-in-hand and Phi Gamma Delta was no exception. Pence participated in many of their parties, and even wore a toga. However, after his religious conversion Pence managed to rat out his frat brothers after alerting a dean of students hiding kegs of beer in the Phi Gamma frat house.
There was a time Pence had female friends.
Lisa Koon who attended Hanover with Pence and knew him through the Vespers group enjoyed a warm friendship with Pence. That was until he found his religious “calling” and became more rigid and judgmental. She recalls on prayer group on a Vespers retreat Pence brought Koon to tears over her supposed “sinful” lifestyle, and condemning her for attending a frat party (Pence attended the same party). Koon soon found herself shunned by fellow Vespers, and angry over Pence’s judgment. Pence now will not dine with other women unless his wife is present (apparently she holds his balls).
He did have gay friends.
Trying to wrap our head around this one. But Pence was the first person a fellow student came out to and the student thought of Pence as a “mentor.” The gay man is anonymous in the CNN story but said Pence then labeled his as “an abomination” and proceeded to cut all contact with him after coming out. Fellow Hanover students confirmed the account. Scott Roos a fellow frat brother experienced a similar reaction after coming out.
Pence almost broke up with his now-wife.
In another reflection Scott Roos recalls Pence being disgusted over his then-friends (Karen) “sinful” lifestyle. Karen like many women lost her virginity before marriage, with Pence found disgusting. Well, Pence must have gotten over that one because he married her and they have three children. Roos believes Pence’s religiosity stems from political ambition: Pence told his “God told [Pence] he would be President.”
Now that your stomach has turned, we should suggest Pence enroll himself in conversion therapy…for not being such a judgmental douche and jerk.
34-year-old Rep. Shevrin Jones of Florida came out as gay and he doesn’t care what others think or say about it.
The Florida Democrat in an interview with the Miami Herald explained he came out to his family about five years ago. He divorced his wife in 2015 and admits he still loves her. Over the past few year’s he has spent time doing some quiet soul searching. “She and I were friends for 10 years at school,” he explains. “When I married her, I loved her then. But I loved her too much to continue to lie to her and lie to my family.”
It was the unexpected death of his older brother that sparked him to reflect on his life. “I was like, that could have been me,” Jones says. “I could drop dead living behind the scenes of something that could have helped someone else. I started living my truth just a little bit more.”
Jones was out to close colleagues, friends, and family, it wasn’t until the recent wave of LGBTQ politicians running for office that he was ready to speak out publicly about his sexuality.
He sought the advice of former state Rep. Joe Saunders who serves as the political director at Equality Florida and had his name officially added to the roster of endorsements of openly gay politicians.
Jones, was first elected in 2012, isn’t sure how his coming out will impact his re-election, but isn’t worried about it. “Mark my words: Now that I’m living my truth if I am never elected again, I’m OK with that,” he tells the Herald.
He further states, “Because there are so many people right now who are in office, in places of high stature, who are not living truthful lives and they sleep with that lie on a daily basis. If me living my truth is a reason to vote against me or vote me out, then I’m OK with that.”
It appears that LGBT police officer have been told they will not be allowed to march in a pride parade in Madison, Wisconsin, after receiving previous approval. OutReach LGBT Community Center who made the decision told the local news outlet the Wisconsin State Journal that there were concerns with officers participating armed and in uniform.
The organizers originally approved the police marching in plain clothes and without a squad car, but it appears that members of the community still protested their participation. Shawn Lutzow and Johana Heineman-Pieper cited concerns for people of color and marginalized groups if the police were allowed to march.
So, the two decided to organize a Community Pride Coalition with other groups to protest the involvement of officers in the parade. “We are not promoting police marching as a contingent, which is very different from not allowing officers to march as individuals in other organizations or from attending the event as a spectator,” said Heineman-Pieper.
Police Lt. Brian Chaney Austin who founded the Madison Police Department Pride, said he was disappointed but hopes to facilitate further dialogue between the groups. “There were some hearts broken, there were some tears shed, but we know there’s work that needs to be done and we want to take that on,” Austin said.
Dave Mahoney of the Dane County Sheriff’s office said: “is an opportunity to open the door to further dialogue with the LGBT community.”
You might remember earlier this year in Toronto, uniformed police were told to remove their application to march in the city’s pride parade and officers in Minneapolis were told by their chief not to wear their uniforms in the parade.