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Brazil’s LGBTI community braces for far-right presidency of Bolsonaro

Brazil’s LGBTI community braces for far-right presidency of Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro, an extremely right-wing politician, is currently the frontrunner for Brazil's presidency

Brazil next president looks set to be a far-right candidate who has frequently expressed homophobic sentiments.

Jair Bolsonaro is widely predicted to win the presidency on Sunday’s elections (28 October), after a deeply divisive election campaign.

A three-decade congressman and former army captain, Bolsonaro is infamous for his authoritarian leanings and bigoted remarks.

This includes saying he would be ‘incapable of loving’ a gay son, blood transfusion patients should be able to reject blood if it came from a gay person, and that he was ‘very proud’ of being homophobic.

Many in Brazil’s LGBTI community say they have experienced an increase in violence and threats during the election.

Bolsonaro has also incorporated authoritarian rhetoric, expressing admiration for Brazil’s military dictatorship, which executed, tortured and imprisoned thousands of people during its rule.

Numerous commentators have expressed concern that Bolsonaro could usher in a new era of authoritarianism in the Latin American country.

While Bolsonaro’s left-wing rival, Fernando Haddad, has closed the gap in polling in recent days, Bolsonaro maintains a strong lead of around eight points.

In the lead up to the elections, millions of Brazilians took to the street in protest against Bolsonaro, with the hashtag #EleNão (not him) began trending online.

One of the deadliest years

2018 has been one of the deadliest years for Brazil’s LGBTI community.

Numerous instances of homophobic attacks have been directly related to Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign.

In September, Brazilian LGBTI rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia reported that more than 300 LGBTI people have been murdered in Brazil in 2018, up from 220 by the same time last year.

The group also said that 713 LGBTI hate crimes had been committed by September 2018.

In September, Brazilian soccer club Atlético Mineiro apologized after its fans chanted that Bolsonaro will ‘kill the queers’.

However, this year also saw a major milestone for the LGBTI community’s representation in Brazilian politics. In October, Érica Malunguinho became the first trans person to be elected to the State Congress in São Paulo.

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Brazil’s LGBTI community braces for far-right presidency of Bolsonaro