It’s said to be the largest demonstration in support of gays and lesbians in the world with an estimated crowd of 2 million as floats and marchers in bright costumes thronged through Sao Paulo’s thoroughfare Paulista Avenue.
The slogan of the 19th LGBT parade is ‘I was born this way, I grew up so I will always be like this: respect me.’
Since the parade was first held in 1997, the LGBT community has made significant gains in a mostly socially conservative Roman Catholic country of 202 million.
Although same-sex marriage became legal in Brazil in May 2013, widespread discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identify still exists.
LGBTI rights groups report that the country sees homophobic or transphobic attacks on almost a daily basis with 326 homicides of homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals last year.
While President Dilma Rousseff has promised to support moves to criminalize anti-gay attacks, she says her government faces opposition from evangelical Christian and right wing politicians, some of whose supporters organized a counterparade on Sunday.