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Brazil's Homophobia Worst in the World

Gays/ Lesbians Murdered Every 3 Days

Roman Catholic Bishops Partly to Blame

Compiled By GayToday

brazil.jpg - 11.14 K Bahia, Brazil--The final statistics for anti-gay slayings between 1997 and 1998 confirm Brazil as the leading homophobic nation in the world: 130 gay men, lesbians and transvestites have been murdered –an average of one crime every three days.

São Paulo led as 'horror champion', with 31 homicides, followed by Rio de Janeiro (20 cases), Bahia (12) and Alagoas (11).

In total, 82 gay men, 42 transvestites and 6 lesbians, whose average ages were between 18 and 29 years, were victims of fatal homophobic violence.

Of these people, 46 were shot, 26 stabbed. Twenty percent of the murderers were under 18 years of age, but the killers' average ages were between 18 and 24.

No data has been collected for the Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, Paraíba, Espírito Santo and for most of the northern region of the nation, but the slayings that have occurred since 1980 total 1600.

These frightening numbers are in the dossier Violação dos Direitos Humanos e Assassinatos de Homossexuais no Brasil no ano de 1997 (Violation of Human Rights and Killings of Gay People in Brazil in 1997), produced by GGB (Gay Group of Bahia).

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The group's document cites commonplace violations including torturing, battery and discrimination in many venues and locales. Data has been assembled about violence against transvestites, gay men and lesbians and about violations of their rights to freedom of assembly, privacy, association and work.

The sad reality, according to Grupo Gay de Bahia, is that the numbers in the dossier show that anti-gay intolerance and violence, particularly killings, are increasing in frequency, cruelty and impunity.

The document also refers to the finding of a survey carried out by DataFolha and Agência do Estado: of all social minorities in Brazil, homosexuals are the principal victims of prejudice and discrimination, more hated than blacks, Jews, women, indigenous or elderly people.

Homosexuals are insulted and assaulted by strangers and relatives, thrown out of their homes, beaten by the police, rejected by churches and by the military.

Social Rejection --The dossier does not limit itself to numbers, including also statements made to the national press that reveal 'sheer prejudice'.

Lieutenant colonel Hugo Coelho de Almeida's homophobic intolerance stands out: he suggested the death penalty for commandant lieutenant colonel Zani Maia, caught in homosexual conduct.

Equally outrageous was the statement of D. Lucas Moreira Neves, president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, about the same-sex civil union act: "It is anti-educational and harmful to human and Christian values". His statement was ratified by Rio's cardinal archbishop D. Eugênio Sales: "Homosexuals have an anomaly. The Church is, and will always be, against homosexuality".

In the words of Lobato community leader Oséas Santana, "when a homophobe attacks a gay man or a lesbian, it's not only the attacker's fault, but also these opinion makers', who send messages so inhumane and in disagreement with the teachings of the Son of God".

Mobilization – The Grupo Gay da Bahia dossier exposes and denounces the rapid rise of violence accompanying anti-gay discrimination in Brazil. The group's members hope to sensitize police and justice officials, thereby lending credence to murder investigations and arrests, as well as the trying and convicting of those who violate the human rights of homosexuals.

Grupo Gay da Bahia also hopes to network with other human rights organizations, effecting solidarity in the cause for equality for homosexual citizens. Finally, the activists work to mobilize the gay and lesbian community encouraging the creation of mechanisms for self-protection and defense, and fighting for 'dignifying, considerate and healthy treatment.'
Grupoo Gay da Bahia
Caixa Postal 2552 40022-260
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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