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Brazil Supreme Court bans homophobia, transphobia despite Bolsonaro

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LGBTQ rights have come a long way in the U.S. But the community still faces threats in the form of legalization, discrimination and even violence.
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Even as activist groups continue to raise concerns of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro‘s views toward LGBT people, Brazil’s supreme court voted to criminalize homophobia and transphobia similarly to its laws on racism.

Eight of Brazil’s 11 Supreme Federal Court justices ruled on Thursday to include homophobia and transphobia within the country’s laws prohibiting racism — a clause that would legally protect the country’s LGBT community, which has among the highest rates of violent LGBT deaths in the world.

Justice Carmen Lucia in her ruling argued that the LGBT community is treated differently in Brazil’s “discriminatory society,” and as a result, face a higher rate of violence.

The country’s laws banning racism were passed in 1989 and allow for possible sentences of up to five years. 

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Though Brazil has legalized same-sex marriages, violence in the country towards LGBT people is common. 420 LGBT people were killed across Brazil in 2018, according to a report by Brazilian LGBT watchdog Gay Group of Bahia released earlier this year, while at least 141 have been killed so far this year.

Along with controversial statements about rape and torture, Bolsonaro is outspoken about his homophobic beliefs. In a 2011 interview with Playboy Brazil, he said that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son — doubling-down on those statements in later interviews.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

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