The Brazilian Supreme Court on Thursday (13 June) ruled that homophobia and transphobia should be criminalized.
Eight out of 11 justices voted to treat homophobia in the same way as racism under Brazilian law until the country’s Congress can pass a new law.
Last month, six out of the 11 justices ruled in favor of the move but the decision became official as the remaining five voted on Thursday.
‘Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential to human beings, to the self-determination to decide their own life and seek happiness,’ Justice Gilmar Mendes said, according to the court’s Twitter.
‘All prejudice is violence. All discrimination is a cause of suffering,’ said judge Carmen Luzia, according to AFP. ‘But I learned that some prejudices cause more suffering than others.’
Thursday’s ruling states criminalizing homophobia and transphobia will not restrict religious freedoms.
But, churches must not promote ‘hate speech’ that incites discrimination or violence against LGBTI people.
Brazil’s notoriously homophobic president, Jair Bolsonaro, had criticized the court’s intention. He said he intended to appoint an evangelical Christian to the court.
It came about as Brazilian rights groups Associação Brasileira de Lésbicas, Gays, Bissexuais, Travestis, Transexuais e Intersexos (ABGLT) and Grupo de Advogados pela Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero (GADVS) asked the court to acknowledge Congress’ failure to criminalize violence against gay people as ‘unconstitutional’.
Brazil’s only openly-gay lawmaker David Miranda took to Twitter to share the news.
LGBTFOBIA AGORA É CRIME
🌈 Foi concluída hoje a votação no Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) que enquadra a LGBTFobia no crime de racismo. A decisão do tribunal por 8 votos a 3 valerá até que o Congresso Nacional legisle sobre o tema. pic.twitter.com/2jeqBI6XM4
— David Miranda (@davidmirandario) June 13, 2019
Brazil’s anti-LGBTI president
A recent study released last week found Brazil registered 141 murders of LGBTI people so far in 2019.
Brazil elected homophobic politician Jair Bolsonaro as president on 1 January this year.
Known for his far-right policies and anti-LGBTI, misogynistic, and racist comments, some people call Bolsonaro ‘the Trump of the Tropics’.
LGBTI activists have warned Bolsonaro will usher in a new wave of terror for Brazil’s LGBTI community.
Many LGBTI Brazilians who said they were fearful for their rights and safety under the rule of the openly homophobic Bolsonaro.
Prior to the presidency, Brazil saw a spate of same-sex weddings, as same-sex couples rushed to marry before Bolsonaro took office.
Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, many LGBTI people worry that Bolsonaro might begin rescinding LGBTI rights during his presidency.
2018 was one of the deadliest years for Brazil’s LGBTI community.
In September, Brazilian LGBTI rights group reported more than 300 LGBTI people have been murdered in Brazil in 2018. Importantly, that’s from 220 by the same time the previous year.
‘I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child’ Bolsonaro once said.
‘If your son starts acting a little gay, hit him with some leather, and he’ll change his behavior’ he also said.