Brazil’s only openly gay Congressman has just fled the country in fear of his life.
The Associated Press reports that Congressman Jean Wyllys has left his job and has no plans to return. Even further, Wyllys shared this news earlier today and says his leave is due to death threats set against him and the rise of violence against LGBTQ people.
Wyllys later posted to Instagram the following statement:
"Preserving the threatened life is also a strategy of fighting for better days.We have done a lot for the common good.And we will do much more when the new time comes, no matter what we do by other means.Thank you and all of you with all your heart. Axé! "
Wyllys was re-elected in October and set to begin his third term in February.
Perhaps one event that increased Wyllys’s fears was the death of friend and political ally Marielle Franco. Franco was a councilwoman for Rio de Janeiro who was shot and killed with her driver last year.
In addition, Wyllys had ongoing conflict with the new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has repeatedly expressed that he is a “proud homophobe.” He even once stated that he’d prefer to have “a dead son rather than a gay son.”
Then just hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro removed all LGBTQ issues from the agenda of the Human Rights Ministry.
As the Associated Press writes:
“In arguably their most public clash, Wyllys spit on Bolsonaro on the floor of the lower House of Deputies during the 2016 impeachment process of then-President Dilma Rousseff. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, voted for Rousseff's impeachment while giving tribute to a former colonel who tortured Rousseff when she was jailed as a guerrilla fighter during the dictatorship.”
“In the hours after Folha published its story, Bolsonaro, set to return from the economic forum in Davos, put out a series of tweets that many interpreted as cheering Wyllys' departure. They included icons of a hand giving a thumb's up, a Brazilian flag and an icon of a plane.”
“’Fake News!"’Bolsonaro wrote, posting a tweet of O Globo daily that framed his messages as celebratory. ‘I was referring to mission completed, productive meetings with heads of state and return to the country I love.’”
“In the interview, Wyllys said his decision to leave wasn't because of Bolsonaro's rise, but rather the climate of heated rhetoric and intensifying violence toward members of the LGBT community in the wake of last year's campaigns.”
Wyllys’s aide says that the now former Congressman is safe and sound in an undisclosed location.
h/t: The Associated Press