City tells Brazil bar: you can’t ban lesbians

The city of Teresina in Brazil has issued a formal warning to a bar which banned a lesbian couple 

City tells Brazil bar: you can’t ban lesbians
21 June 2012

The city of Teresina, Brazil has issued a formal warning this week to a bar that banned a lesbian couple from attending its Valentine’s Day party.

The warning, given on 18 June, was issued by a municipal commission that investigated a complaint by the lesbian couple that the bar violated the city’s anti-discrimination law.

This law has been in force since 2002, but it is the first time it is known to have been used. The law can sanction punishments ranging from a warning to significant financial penalties and even closure of an establishment found to be guilty of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

In March this year the Planeta Diário bar had already been ordered by Judge Manoel de Sousa Dourado to pay a fine of R$ 4,000 ($1,952 €1,553) as compensation for its discriminatory behaviour towards the lesbian couple.

In June 2011 a lesbian couple identified by the initials VAA and EAS were attending a Valentine’s Day party in the Planeta Diário bar. According to the couple, while they were dancing they were approached by the security of the establishment and told that the owner did not accept ‘that kind of behavior’ and were asked to leave the premises.

The couple then sought the advice of the local LGBT group Matizes who advised them to report the incident to the anti-discrimination police department, which then took the establishment to court.

Maria Jose Ventura, coordinator of the group Matizes, praised the municipal authorities actions, noting that this punishment has an educational value. He believes that as well as raising awareness of prejudice against LGBT people it will also be an example to other companies not to discriminate.

Speaking with Gay Star News, Professor Luiz Mott founder of LGBT Rights Gay Group of Bahia said: ‘This case of anti-discrimination is important twofold:

‘Firstly, the anti-homophobic victory occurred in a poor and macho-oriented state of Piauí, of which Teresina is the capital.

‘Secondly, victories over homophobic behavior obtained by the LGBT movements are quite rare and so we were glad to learn of this victory.’

According to Mott the local group Matizes, headed by the lesbian lawyer Marinalva Santana is doing exceptional advocacy work.

Mott however stresses that there is still much work ahead: ‘Brazil is the world champion of LGBT related murders: with 266 registered murders in 2011, and already 159 this year alone (figures obtained until June 2012). 53% of the murdered were gays, 41% trans and 6% lesbians.

‘While lesbians are less victimized in homicides, they suffer a lot of discrimination at home and sometimes in public spaces, as in this case.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Activist Nikolai Alekseev cleared of Moscow gay pride charges

Leading gay rights campaigner to seek compensation for arrest and detention by police at banned Moscow gay pride protest
No thumbnail available

Obama and Romney steer clear of Chick-fil-A debate

While the rest of the US fight over Chick-fil-A, Obama and Romney stay on the sidelines
No thumbnail available

HomoLAB 75

We gather at The British Library to discuss the 200th issue of Diva with editor Jane Czyzselska.
My gay city: Alex Kosztowny sends us a postcard from Los Angeles

My gay city: Alex Kosztowny sends us a postcard from Los Angeles

Costumer. Couturier. Corsetiere. Knitting boy next door.
No thumbnail available

Gay comic Billy Eichner gets crazy with First Lady Michelle Obama in a supermarket

FLOTUS plays Billy on the Street game to promote good eating
No thumbnail available

Brazil soccer player Alex: ‘It’s not anti-gay to believe being gay is wrong'

Paris Saint Germain has defended his anti-gay views, saying it is not right for a man to live with a man and a woman with a woman
No thumbnail available

Massive petition against Russian hate law

AllOut.org hands in 250,000 names against new ban on public mention of gay or trans issues
No thumbnail available

Are these 12 couples boyfriends or brothers?

Inspired by Tumblr, we take a look at a phenomenon known as 'boyfriend twins'
No thumbnail available

LGBTI military celebrated on US Veterans Day

A group of active and retired US gay and lesbian military service members have held a wreath laying ceremony to mark Veterans Day at the grave site of the first man to out himself in the military to fight the ban on gays surving
No thumbnail available

Texas Governor Rick Perry compares being gay to being an alcoholic

'Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that'