SÃ£o Paulo's 17th pride parade, the world's largest, kicks off with a more political message
Despite heavy rain showers and cold temperatures millions participate in SÃ£o Paulo’s gay parade, the world’s largest.
The march started today (2 June) at 1pm local time next to SÃ£o Paulo’s Museum of Arts (MASP) winding its way through the city’s main avenue, Avinda Paulista.
The weather in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil and South America’s largest city, was unusually cold with temperatures barely reaching 16c (61F) and heavy rain.
Participants, however turned the weather into an object of fun by sporting multi-colored and rainbow umbrellas accompanied, costumes and 17 floats, among them starring out celebrity singer Daniela Mercury, who has been singing to the crowds.
The march is currently winding itself towards one of the city’s main squares Praca da Republica, where a celebrity starred show will be lasting for over six hours.
Participant Denilson Oliveira told Gay Star News: ‘This year the cold and rain deterred a little the public from the parade. There were not as many people as last year and it was slightly less animated.
‘But with less people it gave the parade a more clear political and forceful message, about criminlizing homophobia, gay marriage and that Evangelical political leaders are trying to “demonize” our movement.’
Organizers say they hope 4 million people will participate, half a million less than last year.
Fernando Quaresma, president of the Association of LGBT Pride Parade in SÃ£o Paulo (APOGLBT), said the event should not be seen only as an off-season carnival.
‘The parade is not an off-season carnival. It is a movement of massive visibility on part of a community which suffers daily prejudice and discrimination, violence, hatred and intolerance,’ he said in a press conference earlier this morning.
Quaresma also criticized Brazil’s Congress, saying that ‘the legislature has not been fulfilling its role to pass a law to guarantee the end of social injustice.’
Without naming names, he said some lawmakers – whom he referred to as ‘religious fundamentalists’ – are ‘attacking the secular state and the civil rights of LGBT people.’
Although he did later signal out evangelical anti-gay pastor, Marco Feliciano, the head of Brazil’s Congress Commission of Human Rights, as a fundamentalist who is failing in his role.
The event was attended by Brazil’s minister of Culture, Marta Suplicy, who also expressed criticism of Feliciano.