LGBT rights in Brazil
|LGBT rights in Brazil|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1830, age of consent equalised|
|Gender identity/expression||Legal since 2009, official standard for altering legal sex requires SRS|
|Military service||Legal since 1969|
|Discrimination protections||No explicit legal protection nationwide|
|Same-sex marriage legal nationwide since 2013|
|Adoption||Legal since 2010|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Brazil enjoy many of the same legal protections available to non-LGBT people, with LGBT people having marriage rights available nationwide since May 2013.
On May 5, 2011, the Supreme Federal Court voted in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same 112 legal rights as married couples. The decision was approved by 10–0 with one abstention – one justice abstained because he had spoken publicly in favor of same-sex unions when he was attorney general. The ruling will give same-sex couples in stable partnerships the same financial and social rights enjoyed by those in opposite-sex relationships.
Consequently, on May 14, 2013, The Justice's National Council of Brazil legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 14-1 vote by issuing a ruling that orders all civil registers of the country to perform same-sex marriages and convert any existing civil unions into marriages if the couples so desire. Joaquim Barbosa, then president of the Council of Justice and the Supreme Federal Court, said in the decision that notaries cannot continue to refuse to "perform a civil wedding or the conversion of a stable civil union into a marriage between persons of the same sex." The ruling was published on May 15 and took effect on May 16, 2013.
The list of various LGBT rights in Brazil has expanded since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985, and the creation of the new Constitution of Brazil of 1988. In 2009, a survey conducted in 10 Brazilian cities found that 7.8% of men identified as gay with bisexual males accounting for another 2.6% of the total population (for a total of 10.4%). The Brazilian lesbian population was 4.9% of females with bisexual women reaching 1.4% (for a total of 6.3%). There are no nationwide statistics.
According to the Guinness World Records, the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade is the world's largest LGBT Pride celebration, with 4 million people in 2009. Brazil had 60,002 same-sex couples in the same home, according to the Brazilian Census of 2010 (IBGE). The South American country has 300 active LGBT organizations.
- 1 Timeline
- 2 Population
- 3 Issues
- 4 Social conditions
- 5 Brazilian gay culture
- 6 Summary table
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
- 1830: Dom Pedro I signed into law the Imperial Penal Code. It eliminates all references to sodomy.
- 1979: O Lampião, a gay magazine, with contributions by many famous authors, like João Silvério Trevisan, Aguinaldo Silva and Luiz Mott, is launched. It survived just for a year.
- 1980: Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest gay rights organization in Brazil, is founded in Salvador, Bahia, together with SOMOS, another organization in São Paulo, State of São Paulo.
- 1989: The constitutions of Mato Grosso and Sergipe states are signed into law. They explicitly forbid discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
- 1995: Congresswoman Marta Suplicy proposes Bill project No. 1151 concerning civil unions. The bill is pending approval in the House since 1995.
- 1997: G Magazine, the first gay-oriented erotic magazine is published enjoying large and national distribution, until its final issue in 2013.
- 2004: Rio Grande do Sul allows same-sex partners to register civil unions in a generic civil law notary after a court decision in March 2004.
- 2006: A male gay couple from Catanduva, São Paulo officially adopts a five-year-old girl. According to Folha de S. Paulo, a lesbian couple from Rio Grande do Sul was the first to use this right.
- June 10, 2007: In its eleventh edition, the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade breaks its own record as the biggest parade in the world and attracts 3.5 million people.
- June 25, 2007: The Richarlyson affair occurred in which a judge was brought before the Justice Council of São Paulo for stating in court that soccer is a "virile, masculine sport and not a homosexual one." However, afterwards the same judge apologized and afterwards decided to annul the decision he wrote.
- 2008: National LGBT Conference was held. The event, the first in the world to be organized by a government, is a result of demands made by civil society and the Brazilian government's support of LGBT people's rights.
- 2010: In a landmark trial by ministers themselves, the 4th Class of the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil acknowledged, unanimously, that homosexual couples have the right to adopt children.
- 2011: On May 5, Supremo Tribunal Federal unanimously extended the stable unions institute (união estável) to same-sex couples nationwide by redefining the laic definition of family and provided 112 rights to these couples. The extension of the marriage institute was not discussed in this decision.
- 2011: On June 27, first same-sex civil union was converted into a same-sex marriage in Brazil. A Brazilian judge in São Paulo had converted a civil union into a same-sex marriage, a first in the nation. After this case, other civil unions were converted into a full marriage.
- 2011: On October 25, the Superior Court of Justice declared that the legal union of two women who petitioned the court could be recognized as a marriage. Differently from the U.S. Supreme Court's "stare decisis", the Superior Court decision will only reach the authors of the demand, but stands as a precedent that can be followed in similar cases.
- 2013: On May 14, The Justice's National Council of Brazil legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 14-1 vote by issuing a ruling that orders all civil registers of the country to perform same-sex marriages and convert any existing civil unions into marriages if such a couple desires.
In 2010, a survey conducted by Rio de Janeiro State University and University of Campinas revealed that by age of 18, 95% of homosexual youth in Brazil had already revealed their homosexuality, with many acknowledging it by the time they were 16. For the 1980s generation, homosexuality was usually revealed after they were 21 years old. Prejudice has also decreased according to data from a survey of Ibope. Currently, 60% of Brazilians consider homosexuality as "natural."
In 2009, a survey conducted by University of São Paulo in ten capitals of Brazil, showed that the Brazilian gay male population was of 7.8% of Brazilian males and bisexual male population was of 2.6% (total of 10.4% of the total male population). The lesbian population was of 4.9% of females and the bisexual women another 1.4% (total of 6.3% of the female population).
Selected cities to the research:
|1||Rio de Janeiro||14.30%||1|
The States of Brazil are prohibited to create discriminatory laws according to the national constitution. This has contributed to the enactment of same-sex adoption, civil unions, gender change, and others, whereas the anti-discrimination laws are encouraged according to the Brazilian Constitution, in constitutions of State and in City laws.
Traditional images of Latin America "machismo" and the resulting homophobia are changing now that individual rights, including one's right in accordance with one's sexual orientation, enjoy the protection of law. Brazil, South America's largest country, adopted a liberal Constitution in 1988, and continues to provide more protections for all of its citizens. Shortly after electing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as Brazil's president, various states took serious measures ensuring that no one will be discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation. As of 2003, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was prohibited in 73 municipal statutes. Provisions were enacted in the laws of the states of Alagoas, Amapá, Bahia, Brazilian Federal District, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins. The latter has promulgated a new law, signed by its governor, that will put high fines on businesses discriminating against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. The new law has also eliminated many loopholes of earlier laws: It says:
"Any aggressive or discriminatory act against any homosexual, bisexual or transgender citizen will be punished accordingly with the law." The punishments are cumulative: A first offense will bring a warning, but any subsequent action will be heavily fined. Fines vary from R$300 to R$1000, a considerable sum in Brazil. In the case of further incidents, the offender will face the permanent seizure of his operating license. The law goes into effect immediately. Santa Catarina's bold step into social equality was met with enthusiasm by same-sex activists in Santa Catarina ("Hooray!", read the title of Glssite's newsletter commemorating the law's signing) who worked long and hard to get it passed. The first Brazilian state to create such laws in 1997, which then generated much controversy, was Bahia, the northeastern home of the Luiz Mott-led Grupo Gay da Bahia, arguably the largest and best-known gay activist group in Brazil.
On November 30, 2000, the city council of Niterói, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public places and institutions as well as in businesses. Many Brazilian cities and states have anti-discriminatory legislation that explicitly includes sexual orientation. Some of them provide specific sanctions and penalties for those who engage in discrimination. The measure is currently on the desk of Niterói's mayor, who must approve it before it is enacted. IGLHRC and Cidadania Gay, a local LGBT organization, sent letters to the mayor and city councilors in support of the measure.
As of 2007, a federal anti-discrimination law is currently pending approval on the Brazilian Senate. The federal constitution does not have any specific laws on discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it does have a generic anti-discrimination article that can be considered to include such cases. This fact is constantly used by the opposition of the anti-discrimination law to show that there is no need for specific laws. The defenders of the new law however, argue that without clear designation, this will still be considered somewhat of a lesser crime. Some conservative Catholic and Protestant senators argue that the law would be an aggression on religious freedom granted by the Constitution. Senator Fátima Cleide (PT–RO) said that the law should be approved because "the country has the tragic mark that a homosexual is murdered each two days." Former Evangelical priest and senator Marcelo Crivella (PRB–RJ) criticizes the text, saying homosexuals will receive a protection that "should have been given to women, the elderly and children."
There is no law forbidding LGBT people from serving in the Brazilian Armed Forces. Sexual orientation cannot be an obstacle for entry into the police force or the military in Brazil. All sexual acts are disallowed between members of the forces be it heterosexual or homosexual.
The Constitution of Brazil prohibits any form of discrimination in the country. The Brazilian Armed Forces does not permit desertion, sexual acts or congeners in the military, whether heterosexual or homosexual. They claim that it is not a homophobic rule, but a rule of discipline that also includes the opposite sex.
|“||In 2008, during a disappearance of a military gay couple, the Ministry of Defence of Brazil spoke: the sergeant is to be questioned about alleged desertion from the military and there is no question of discrimination." The two soldiers said they had been in a stable relationship for ten years in the Brazilian military. In 2012, was published an official note by Brazilian Armed Forces: "The Brazilian army does not discriminate against (...) sexual orientation (...).||”|
No information currently exists as to whether military personnel can have their same-sex relationships recognized by the military, despite the fact that federal government employees can receive benefits for their same-sex spouses. Following the Supreme Federal Tribunal decision in favor of civil unions, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim guaranteed the Ministry's compliance with the decision and mentioned that spousal benefits can be accorded to same-sex spouses of military personnel.
According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) in 2012, 63.7% of Brazilians support the entry of LGBTs in the Brazilian Armed Forces, and not see it as a problem. The members of the Brazilian Armed Forces can marry with other same-sex person to receive benefits.
A watershed decision issued on November 25, 2003, by Brazilian judge Ana Carolina Morozowski of the 5th Civil Court of Curitiba, Paraná, recognized the same-sex relationship of national gay activist Toni Reis with British citizen David Ian Harrad, granting Harrad permanent residency in Brazil. A week later, the National Immigration Council instituted the Administrative Resolution Number 3, 2003, which "disposes of the criteria for the concession of temporary or permanent visa, or of definitive permanence to the male or female partner, without distinction of sex."
In the city of Florianópolis, the judge Marjôrie Cristina Freiberger Ribeiro da Silva of the 1st Civil Court, prevented the Brazilian immigration departments to deport an Italian citizen who had lived more than ten years in a stable relationship with a lesbian Brazilian. The judge said she believed that "homosexual union creates the same rights as a union between man and woman."
Brazil is the first country in Latin America to recognize same-sex unions for immigration benefits. Following Brazil's example, other countries in South America have recently made major advances in the recognition of same-sex relationships, including immigration rights, for example, Colombia in 2009.
However, the Brazilian Government was slow in cabling its consulates regarding this decision. Thus, many same-sex couples who sought to move to Brazil to take advantage of this new policy were left confused by the lack of clarity of the government and unable to receive the benefits this policy was intended to provide. In February 2004, in a joint meeting at the Brazilian consulate in New York, Immigration Equality and the Brazilian Rainbow Group asked the consular officials to clarify the application procedures regarding the new immigration policy. Despite ongoing confusion, the Brazilian Rainbow Group obtained copies of Administrative Resolution No. 3 and accompanying regulations that clarify the rules for same-sex binational couples where one partner is a Brazilian citizen.
|“||We are thrilled to report that clear procedures are now available to binational same-sex couples who seek to immigrate to Brazil, says Eryck Duran, Executive Director of the Brazilian Rainbow Group, and he adds: We are proud that Brazilis committed to end discrimination of gays and lesbians as the government has recognized that extending immigration to same-sex partners or spouses of Brazilian citizens is licit and sanctioned by the Constitution.||”|
Historically, migration by homosexuals from other parts of the country to larger cities has been a common phenomenon, even discounting economic factors in the towns and cities of origin. Factors driving this migration include the perception of increased liberty and independence in large cities as well as many options of entertainment for this demographic. The cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, and others, receive large influxes annually.
Adoption by same-sex couples
Same-sex adoption in Brazil occurred and is occurring because Brazilian laws do not specifically prohibit, and can not ban them as such laws would be deemed unconstitutional. Consequently, several judges have given favorable rulings for adoptions by same-sex couples.
In 2010, in a landmark trial, the 4th Class of the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil (STJ) acknowledged, unanimously, that homosexual couples have the right to adopt children. The court, consisting of five judges discussed a case of two women who had recognized the right of adoption by the Federal Court of Rio Grande do Sul. The State Public Prosecutor, however, appealed to the STJ. The court denied the public prosecutor's request, saying that for such cases, the child's will must be respected. "This trial is historic because it gives to human dignity, dignity of minors and the two women", said the reporter, Luis Felipe Solomon. "We affirm that this decision is an orientation that in cases like that, you should always serve the interests of the child, that being is adopted", the minister João Otávio de Noronha said. The Superior Court of Justice decision creates a legal precedent that would allow gay couples to abandon the practice currently used for individual adoption to avoid legal problems.
|“||For attorney Adriana Galvão, counselor of the "Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil" (Bar Association of Brazil), and part of the study group of the institution about sexual diversity, the opinion demonstrates a legal and also social advancement. "It was a new interpretation. The Supreme Court found that it can break paradigms and demonstrated that the judiciary is trying to open their vision to our social reality in order to guarantee the rights of people," she said.||”|
In 2010, minister Marco Aurélio Mello, of Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) (Supreme Federal Court of Brazil), ruled in favor of a binational same-sex couple formed by an English and a Brazilian, in the State of Paraná. Allowing the couple to adopt any child, regardless of age or sex of the child. The decision of the Supreme Federal Court opens the way for other same-sex couples get the same right in the country.
Civil union and same-sex marriage
On May 14, 2013, The Justice's National Council of Brazil legalized same-sex marriage (Portuguese: casamento homoafetivo [kɐzɐˈmẽtw õmwɐfeˈtʃivu], also commonly casamento gay, casamento igualitário [iɣwɐɫiˈtaɾju]) in the entire country in a 14-1 vote by issuing a ruling that orders all civil registers of the country to perform same-sex marriages and convert any existing civil unions into marriages if such a couple desires. Joaquim Barbosa, president of the Council of Justice and the highest court of constitutional law in Brazil - the Supreme Federal Court - said in the decision that notaries cannot continue to refuse to "perform a civil wedding or the conversion of a stable civil union into a marriage between persons of the same sex."
On December 16, 2003, Brazil announced that it will recognize legal same-sex unions performed abroad for immigration purposes. Couples who are married in other countries can use their union certificate to apply for immigration benefits to Brazil. It was the first legal act to the recognition of same-sex couples.
Same-sex unions are treated as common-law marriages and in some cases surviving spouses are able to claim the pension money of the deceased. Brazil provides most benefits of marriage to same-sex couples through common-law of the United States.
According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia (Gay Group of Bahia – GGB), the book of homosexual stable union, instituted years ago, states that do not recognize registration of marriages in the registry, the Instituto Nacional de Segurança Social – INSS (National Institute of Social Security) still recognizes this document as a means for, occasionally, sharing inheritance, receiving a pension, etc. There are already 30 legal cases in the State of Bahia between gays and lesbians. This includes a case in which the companion died and the surviving spouse received the pension.
In Brazil, many legally registered marriages between same-sex couples exist. 15 Brazilian State capitals also instituted The Register of Homosexual Stable Union. In 2009, one of the offices of the city of São Paulo, the 26th Notary public, recorded 202 same-sex stable unions, apart from the offices located in the city. The document of same-sex stable union includes the right to be recognized as a couple in legal issues. Common ownership of property acquired jointly, including transmittance and inheritance. Recognition of the partner as a dependent at the National Institute of Social Security, on health plans and with insurers. Also included are the right to transfer the bank account of one partner to another in case of death or illness of the holder.
De facto unions may be registered in a civil law notary throughout the country (there are specific ordinances about it in Rio Grande do Sul, Roraima and Piauí, but the right is federal and registration is possible in others places too), but this registration does not allow any automatic right. A court decision has been pending since 2005 on the legalization of gay marriage nationwide, but this case has been suspended in Supremo Tribunal Federal (the Brazilian Constitutional Federal Court), where Rio de Janeiro governor Sérgio Cabral Filho has asked the court to equate these unions to opposite-gender de facto unions.
A binational gay couple was forced to leave Chicago and move to Brazil, just so they could be together. U.S. citizen and former Chicagoan Chris Bohlander won the right to live permanently in Brazil with his partner Zemir Magalhães. The couple left Chicago three years ago to live together in Goiânia. A Brazilian judge allowed Bohlander to obtain a permanent residency visa, which is normally only given to the foreign spouse of a Brazilian, based on their civil union, which was recognized by a Goiás judge in 2008. In Brazil, the couple's victory is seen as important, especially because the ruling is based on the fundamental rights and protections guaranteed all Brazilians under the country's constitution. However they are not the first binational couple to receive a favorable ruling, as several others have already received the same rights.
Same-sex couple rights
A bill was proposed in National Congress of Brazil in 1995 to change federal law and allow the recognition of same-sex unions but it faced strong opposition and, as of January 2009, was not voted on. Since the late 1990s however, many concessions have been granted to homosexual couples. Same-sex couples were determined to be de facto partners by the Superior Justice Tribunal in 2006. This gave some rights to same-sex couples through stable unions.
Many independent judicial decisions in Brazil since 1998 have recognized same-sex partnerships in this category under common law and granted various rights to the individuals concerned. There is no actual definition or consensus on what constitutes a stable union. In the State of Rio de Janeiro, the partners of government employees receive the same benefits as married couples. In the State of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil, judges have determined that homosexual relationships should also be legally recognised. All judges and justices of the peace are now bound to approve civil unions knoian as União Civil "between persons of sound mind and independent sexual orientation" in the state.
In 2004, Grupo Gay da Bahia released a list with the names of 159 murdered members of the LGBT community in that year. There is also a list with the names of people that allegedly suffered from human rights abuses in the same year. Some deaths caused directly by homophobia. In 2012, 77% of Brazilians support the explicit criminalization of homophobia.
In mid-2006, Brazil launched Brazil Against Homophobia, anti-homophobia campaign within Brazil including television advertisement and billboards. According to a 2007 BBC article activists estimate that between 1980 and 2006 some 2,680 gay people were murdered in Brazil, the majority thought to have been killed because of their sexuality.
Brazil has been rated as one of the countries where the most gay people are killed. According to the report "Epidemic of Hate", published in 1996 by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, at least 1,200 gays, lesbians and transsexuals were killed in Brazil alone in a decade. According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB), Brazil's largest and most active gay organization, a gay, lesbian or transvestite is brutally murdered every two days due to homophobia, with a total of 130 in one year alone. According to GGB's statistics, only 2% of these attacks are on lesbians, but "Love Sees No Borders" believes this number is grossly underestimated for two main reasons. First, a vast percentage of homophobia-related crimes go unreported. Even in the United States, most hate crimes are not reported.
A large number of hate crimes in Brazil are committed by police officers, thus elevating the number of people unwilling to report a crime. Moreover, brutality against lesbians can often take the form of violent rape; if a victim comes forward, the charge will be rape, not a hate crime against a lesbian.
Sexualidade e Crimes de Ódio (Sexuality and Hate Crimes), produced by Vagner de Almeida and Richard Parker, is the first documentary film about brutalities committed against homosexuals in Brazil. For the directors, the hate crimes come from different segments of society, and say the Catholic Church and radical evangelical groups are also responsible for the rising intolerance, when they actively fight the civil rights of non-heterosexuals. The film exposes life in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro, where various perpetrators murder members of the LGBT community with impunity. In the first months of 2008 there were 45 officially registered homicides against gays; some of the crimes included mutilations. Among the victims were gay men and lesbians, but also a large number of transsexuals.
It should be noted that the numbers produced by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) have occasionally been contested on the grounds that they include all murders of LGBT people reported in the media – that is, not only those motivated by prejudice against homosexuals. Reinaldo de Azevedo, columnist of the right-wing Veja magazine, Brazil's most-read weekly publication, called the GGB's methodology "unscientific" based on the above objection.
A Brazilian gay blog that has investigated murders of gay people reported in the media – including some used by the GGB in its national statistic report – determined that the "large majority" of them were committed by the partners of the victims or those who were otherwise sexually involved with them (e.g., male prostitutes), with some others being killed due to unpaid debts with gangs involved in drug trafficking. The blog also criticized the GGB for not publishing the names of all of the victims the GGB includes in its report to calculate the murder rate so that the motives of the crimes could be independently assessed.
While the term transgender as used in the United States and Europe has come to encompass all gender-variant individuals, including female-to-male transsexuals, drag queens and kings, and intersex individuals, in Brazil the social phenomenon of "transgênero" largely consists of individuals who were assigned male at birth and identify as women. Transgender people in Brazil fall into two categories: "travestis" (i.e., transvestites) and transsexuals, although for Brazilians the two terms are interchangeable. To the extent that the latter insist on distinguishing themselves from transvestites, it is because transsexuals consider that they were born into the wrong body, whereas transvestites do not experience as deeply internal conflicts in relation to their male bodies.
The formal labor market is largely closed to transgender people. An extremely small minority of transvestites have university educations or professional qualifications. With few exceptions, the only professions open to them are nursing, domestic service, hairdressing, gay entertainment, and prostitution. In some cases, even those who work as hairdressers, gay night club artists, and domestic servants also double as sex workers. In the central, north, and northeastern regions of Brazil, transgender people from extremely poor families sometimes begin working as prostitutes as early as 12 years of age, especially if they have been expelled from home by their families.
In the south and southeastern regions and in the major capitals, such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, it is common to find transvestites as young as 16 or 17 working the streets. Despite being included in Brazil's acronym in the struggle for LGBT rights, transgender people receive little outreach from the more mainstream gay and lesbian groups. There are, however, associations of transgender people in several Brazilian states and cities. One program in Rio de Janeiro focuses on the reintegration of transvestites into society through training and employment opportunities.
Brazil's public health system provides free genital reconstruction surgery. Federal prosecutors from the State of Rio Grande do Sul had argued that sexual reassignment surgery is covered under a constitutional clause guaranteeing medical care as a basic right. In 2007 the 4th Regional Federal Court agreed, saying in its ruling that "from the biomedical perspective, transsexuality can be described as a sexual identity disturbance where individuals need to change their sexual designation or face serious consequences in their lives, including intense suffering, mutilation and suicide."
The Health Ministry said it would be up to local health officials to decide who qualifies for the surgery and what priority it will be given compared with other operations within the public health system. Patients must be at least 21 years old and diagnosed as transsexuals with no other personality disorders and must undergo psychological evaluation for at least two years, the ministry said. Gay activists applauded the decision.
So far, the measure has not prompted any opposition. Brazil's public health system offers free health care to all Brazilians, including a variety of surgeries and free AIDS medication. But long lines and poorly equipped facilities mean that those who can afford it usually choose to pay for private hospitals and clinics. The health ministry said that since 2000, about 250 sexual reassignment surgeries considered experimental have been performed at three university hospitals.
LGBT plan and conference
The Federal government of Brazil of the country released in Brasília, in 2009, the National Plan of Promotion of the Citizenship and Human Rights of LGBT ("Plano Nacional de Promoção da Cidadania e Direitos Humanos de LGBT"), a groundbreaking national plan to promote rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals.
The plan may also play an important role in the legalization of gay civil unions on a federal level, and in the approval of the law which criminalizes homophobic acts. The plan is composed of 51 key policies developed in June 2008 at the National LGBT Conference. It includes:
- The legalization of adoption rights by homosexual couples, and the equality of civil rights of homosexual couples;
- The development of a sexual diversity educational program in the curriculum of military and police officers;
- The revision of the current restriction for homosexuals to donate blood;
- The right to automatically change name and sex without having to file a lawsuit in the case of transgender individuals;
- Rating television programming which contains homophobic content as inappropriate for children and adolescents;
- Adding homosexual families as a theme to educational books.
The first National Conference for Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals (LGBT) was launched in 2008 by Brazilian Government, in the federal capital of Brasília. The event, the first in the world to be convened by a government, is a result of demands made by civil society and the Brazilian government's support of LGBT people's rights. The Conference adopted the theme "Human rights and public policies: the way forward for guaranteeing the citizenship of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals."
During the conference public policies were defined for this segment of the population and a National Plan for the Promotion of LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights was prepared. An evaluation was made of the 2004 federal government programme Brazil Without Homophobia programme to combat violence and discrimination against the LGBT population.
The holding of the Conference coincided with the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed the federal government's commitment to the issue of LGBT human rights. Marta Suplicy, Tourism Minister and a longstanding supporter of LGBT rights, commemorated the initiative. "At long last, after so many years, we are finally able to hold this Conference. It's a giant's stride forward for Brazil." For the Justice Minister, Tarso Genro, the LGBT Conference was a demonstration of respect for the human condition.
"A human rights agenda that does not contemplate this issue is incomplete," he declared. Also present at the opening ceremony were the Minister of the Special Department for Human Rights, Paulo Vannuchi; Senator Fátima Cleide, of the Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizenship; the Minister of the Department for Racial Equality Policies, Edson Santos; the Minister of the Special Department for Women's Policies, Nilcéa Freire, and the directors of the Ministry of Health's National Sexually Transmitted Disease and AIDS Programme, Mariângela Simão and Eduardo Barbosa.
The Conference was convened by Decree issued by Brazil's President, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva, and published in the Official Federal Gazette. Approximately 700 delegates took part with 60% civil society participation and 40% governmental participation. There were a further 300 observers is also expected. 16 ministries have collaborated with the process of drafting the base-text document on public policies to be discussed during the event and subsequently implemented.
Prior to the National Conference, conferences were held in Brazil's 27 states, convened by the state governors, in order to develop complementary proposals for the national policy document, define state-level policies and elect the delegates to the National Conference. More than 100 conferences were held at municipal level.
One of the candidates for city council of Salvador, Bahia, the third largest city in Brazil, that won the seat, was Leo Kret, a transvestite club dancer and was the most voted for of the candidates. So when she took office, she defied the dress code norms insisting that her wardrobe would be strictly feminine and insisted on using the women's restroom.
Leo Kret received 12,861 votes in the city, by the Republican Party (PR-BA) in the municipal elections of 2008. In the day of election, she said that she will defend the LGBT rights. She has aspirations to become the president of Brazil one day.
Moacyr Sélia a transvestite hairdresser, sought reelection as Nova Venécia councilman north of the State of Espírito Santo representing the Republican Party (PR-ES). She was already the president of the Chamber of parliament in two occasions.
The most pro-LGBT Brazilian political parties are Workers' Party, Socialism and Liberty Party and United Socialist Workers' Party. The most influential pro-LGBT politicians pro-LGBT of Brazil are Marta Suplicy Smith, José Genoino, and Fátima Cleide, all belonging to the Workers' Party. During the 2010 Presidential Elections in Brazil, all five presidential candidates were favorable to same-sex civil unions, including the elected president Dilma Rousseff.
In 2010, there were 190 political candidates who signed the Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas, Bissexuais, Travestis e Transexuais (Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transsexuals) – ABGLT's "Declaration of Commitment". Those elected included 1 governor, 1 senator, 17 congressmen and 25 state representatives.
After of the Brazilian Judiciary, the Brazilian Executive power has guaranteed many rights to LGBT Brazilians, such as the same social security pension benefits that heterosexual couples receive; the creation of LGBT Council, of federal level; prison visitation by same-sex couples; same income tax benefits that heterosexual couples receive; the federal government recognizes same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union for immigration purposes; health benefits for same-sex couples is legal and mandatory for all health plans in operation in the country; LGBT people have special place in Brazilian prisons, separate from other prisoners. Transsexuals have the right to be called by social name and not by birth name and be forwarded to women's prison. LGBT people in prisons also have the right to choose male or female clothing.
Religion and LGBT rights
Brazil is a secular state, in which there exists a separation of church and state. The country does not have an official religion. By contrast, Argentina, a neighboring country, does have an official religion, the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are disordered and immoral, but some more progressive bishops in Brazil have a hard time divulging it publicly. Many Protestant churches hold the same basic position as the Catholic Church, but most of them do not proclaim their views publicly. In mainline liberal Protestant denominations, there is an effort to avoid Biblical condemnation of homosexuality.
And while most of the conservative churches keep silent on the issue, Brazil has seen the growth of gay-friendly churches such as the Metropolitan Community Church, a denomination which originates in the United States. Apart from the religious people, moral disapproval of homosexuality has been rare, because of the social pressures condemning prejudice and homophobia.
Among evangelicals, there are some campaigns to reach out to homosexual men and women. "Movimento pela Sexualidade Sadia" (Social Movement for a Healthy Sexuality), an evangelical group headed by an ex-homosexual, leads efforts to evangelize in gay parades, talking about Christianity to participants and delivering leaflets featuring the testimonials of ex-gays and ex-lesbians.
There may be a religious factor in Brazilian homosexuality. A minority of the Brazilian population adheres to Candomblé and other Afro-Brazilian religions (similar to Santería), where homosexuality is common. For a comparison, there are some 19,000 recognized Catholic parishes in Brazil. Informal Candomblé temples are supposed to number some 12,000 in Rio de Janeiro alone. In Candomblé, many priests and priestesses are homosexual.
Luiz Mott, the leader of the gay movement in Brazil, is a firm adherent of Candomblé. Many famous Brazilians turn to Afro-Brazilian religions in search of miracles to solve personal or family problems. Even former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, though a Marxist and an atheist, had sympathy for and sometimes visited Candomblé rituals. Another minority of the Brazilian LGBT population adheres to alternative pagan groups, like Wicca, where homosexuality is also accepted.
The main opponents of the advances of the gay rights movement in Brazil have generally been conservatives. Religion is the most cited reason for opposing gay rights. Regionally, opposition to the gay rights movement has been strongest in rural interior regions.
Catholic and evangelical politicians have also been trying to counter gay rights through the introduction of bills. Among them are: Bill 2279/03 Federal law put forward by Representative Elimar Damasceno. It strives to ban public kissing between persons of the same sex in public; Bill 2177/03 a Federal law authored by Representative Neucimar Fraga that creates an assistance program for sexual reorientation of persons who voluntarily opt for changing their sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality.
State representative Edino Fonseca, an Assembly of God government minister, introduced a bill in the Rio de Janeiro State Legislature to establish social services to support men and women wanting to leave homosexuality. He has also introduced a bill to protect evangelical groups offering assistance to such men and women from discrimination and harassment. The latter bill faced severe opposition as well. It says: "No divulging of information on the possibility of support and/or the possibility of sexual reorientation of homosexuals is to be considered prejudice."
Brazilian gay culture
The São Paulo Gay Pride Parade is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world, if not the biggest. It is also one of the major tourist events in São Paulo. The event has official support from the city government of São Paulo. The Parade happens yearly, usually in June. It is the beginning of Brazilian winter, when temperatures are lower, but rains are rare. The Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo (São Paulo LGBT Pride Parade, a parade of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people) has been organized since 1999, with the aims of bringing visibility to social-sexual categories and fomenting the creation of public policies for homosexuals, bissexuals, transvestites and transsexuals.
The main strategy is to occupy public spaces so as to make possible an effective exchange of experiences, elevate the self-esteem of homosexuals and sensibilise the society towards the tolerance with differences. Year after year, the conscientization and education towards respect to Multiculturalism and diversity has generated positive results. During the parade, the homosexuals unite and help build bridges and guarantee the plenitude of their rights.
The month of LGBT Pride in São Paulo was born from the experience of organizing parades and has added more activities such as The Cycle of Debates, the LGBT Cultural Fair, the Citizenship Award in Respect of Diversity, and the successful Gay Day, that happens on the Saturday before the main parade. The Cultural Fair has been part of the LGBT Pride Parade events in the city since 2001. APOGLBT has recognized political and cultural initiatives which value the citizenship of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals, every year since 2001.
Besides São Paulo parade, several other Brazilian cities are organizing their own LGBT parades, mainly in the capitals of the states, such as Rio de Janeiro with 1.5 million people and Salvador with 800,000 people. Below, a list of the main parades as of 2006. The dates change every year. Dates quoted below are referent to 2006.
- June 5 – Parade Pride GLBT in Brasília;
- June 5 – Free Parade in Porto Alegre;
- June 10 – Parade for Free Sexual Expression in Juazeiro do Norte;
- June 11 – Pride Parade in Florianópolis;
- June 12 – Parade GLBT of Goiânia;
- June 12 – Parade of Vitória;
- June 19 – Parade of the Pride GLBT in Porto Alegre;
- June 19 – Parade of Niterói;
- June 24 – Parade of Diversity of Cuiabá;
- June 26 – Parade of Belém;
- June 26 – Pride Parade of Campinas;
- June 26 – Pride Parade of Palmas;
- June 26 – Parade of Sexual Diversity in Fortaleza;
- June 26 – Pride Parade of Rio de Janeiro;
- July 1 – Parade of Diversity in Teresina;
- July 3 – Parade of Pride GLBT in Uberlândia;
- July 9 – Lesbian Parade of Belo Horizonte;
- July 9 – Gay Pride of Manaus;
- July 10 – Parade of Pride GLBT in João Pessoa;
- July 10 – Parade of São Luís;
- July 10 – Parade of Pride GLBT in Belo Horizonte;
- July 10 – Avenue of Diversity in Pelotas;
- July 15 – Parada Gay in Campo Grande;
- July 17 – Gay Parade of Natal;
- July 24 – Parade of Pride GLBT in Maceió;
- August 7 – Parade of Macapá;
- August 28 – Parade of Pride GLBT in Aracaju;
- September 2 – Parade of Diversity in Recife;
- September 4 – Parade of Gay Pride in Salvador;
- September 11 – Parade of Diversity in Boa Vista, Paraíba;
- September 11 – Parade of Cabo Frio;
- September 26 – Parade of Curitiba
- November 8 – Meeting of GLBT in Brasília.
Brazil — where the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off — is a pioneer in LGBT equality, and those laws come accompanied by an open, tolerant, and welcoming culture. However, the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be hosted by countries whose legal codes and cultures are rife with homophobia.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(since 1830)|
|Equal age of consent||(14)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment||/ (varies by state, nationwide pending1)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services||/ (varies by state, nationwide pending1)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (including indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples||(since 2004, nationwide since 2011)|
|Same-sex marriage||(since 2011, nationwide since 2013)|
|Stepchild adoption legal||(since 2006, nationwide since 2010)|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples||(since 2005, nationwide since 2010)|
|LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military||(since 1969)|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples||(also for heterosexual couples)|
|Access to IVF for lesbians||(since 2011)|
|Right to change legal gender||(since 2009)|
|MSM allowed to donate blood||(to be allowed to donate blood, Brazil’s gay men need to either be in a long-term relationship or have not had sex in the last year)|
1The Constitution of Brazil probihits all forms of discrimination by any tier of government, though sexual orientation is not explicitly specified.
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