Minority groups fear repercussions of Bolsonaro’s rhetoric

World Today

The recent victory of far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil has sparked fear among some minority groups.

The LGBT community is especially afraid because of his history of homophobia, but his supporters think Bolsonaro will bring back security and conservative morals.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports.

Rio de Janeiro was celebrating its 23rd LGBT pride parade just one week before Brazil’s election, but now most of these people are concerned about their future after the country elected Jair Bolsonaro president.

“Freedom is a fundamental principle,” Bolsonaro said in his victory speech, but he has also urged parents to beat effeminate boys and once said he prefer a son be dead than gay.

 At the headquarters of ARCO IRIS – which means “rainbow” in English – a national LGBT group, members are looking for ways to defend themselves against homophobic attacks.

Claudio Nascimento,  the director at ARCO IRIS director, said he was told by a group of Bolsonaro’s supporters to get back in the closet or get ready to die.

“We are already alerting international human rights organizations to start thinking of exile or an evacuation plan in case things get tougher,” Nascimento said.

At least 445 LGBT Brazilians died in 2017 because of homophobia, according to watchdog group Gay de Bahia.

While violence and discrimination against Brazil’s LGBT community is not new, some analysts said Bolsonaro’s rhetoric is inspiring more threats and attacks.

“His speech is misogynist is racist is homophobic is pro-torture, and this a threat to individual rights and people feel empowered,” said Pedro Castelo Branco, a Politicaly Analyst at Rio de Janeiro State University. “The people who are against this LGBT agenda feel themselves empowered and they may get violent.”

Groups such as the Homeland Templars, which was founded in June this year, said they want to defend Bolsonaro’s ideas.

“We have a president that wants to be an example to be followed,” said Marlon Ayres, the President of Homeland Templars. “This has a lot do with rescuing family values.”

They said they have nothing against LGBT people, but want the government to relax gun ownership – a Bolsonaro priority – to help minorities protect themselves.

“Minorities will be armed, they will be safe,” said Angelo Mendonca from the Homeland Templars. “Who wants to attack or try to rape a woman if she has a gun? Who will dare beat a gay man if he has gun?”