An estimated one million people hit Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Copacabana beach yesterday (18 November) for the Brazilian city’s annual gay pride celebrations.
Fifteen floats blaring music lined Avenida Atlantica, while many revellers came dressed in colorful carnival costumes.
As well holding a carnival-like party, organizers Grupo Arco-Iris (Rainbow Group) hoped this year’s event would also send a powerful political message.
‘The main thing is to fight for the criminalization of homophobia,’ pride marcher Ester Silveir told France 24.
‘We have made some big strides but the world is still full of a lot of prejudices.’
President of campaign group Grupo Arco-Iris, Julio Moreira, told Jornal do Brasil newspaper that although Rio is seen as a liberal city, anti-gay prejudice is much of the rest of the country.
He said: ‘The LGBT community spends most of the year in Brazil hiding, deprived of many of their rights.’
Brazil’s Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) documented 266 murders of gays, lesbians and transvestites in Brazil last year, six more than in 2010.
The report confirm’s Brazil’s position as the place with the most homophobic murders in the world.
The GGB announced that every 33 hours a Brazilian homosexual was brutally murdered in 2011 as a victim of a homophobic attack.
In spite of these laws, reports of homophobia continue to ensue, including reports of gay-bashing by military officers.