Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a self-professed proud homophobe who would rather have a dead son than a gay one, so it should come as no surprise that he’s worried that Brazil might become a “gay tourism paradise” and even mentioned that gay men can come to Brazil if they have sex with women, according to BBC.
His comments came about during a meeting with reporters in Brasília in which he said “Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families” and “If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life.” I don’t know about other gay men, but the idea of having sex with a woman is not very appealing to me. It’s also a ridiculous suggestion coming from someone who is supposed to lead a country.
However, Bolsonaro’s comments have been met with backlash, with councilor David Miranda, a gay man, saying “This is not a head of state – this is a national disgrace.” I agree with him, I don’t think any leader of anything should say such hurtful and asinine things but unfortunately, they do.
According to The Guardian, Miranda also mentioned that such comments are putting LGBTQ Brazilians in danger, effectively “putting targets on their backs.” As an American, I know all too well how much damage such divisive rhetoric can cause, as our president basically won the presidency by dividing people.
Renan Quinalha, a lawyer and LGBTQ activist, commented that such declarations “give a green light to already alarming levels of violence against the LGBT community” because they suggest that the only real families are ones with heterosexual parents, which is just not true.
Jair Bolsonaro’s comments on gay people are alarming but not particularly surprising as he has a long history of bigotry towards LGBTQ people. However, his comments can do some very real damage to LGBTQ Brazilians as they may increase the levels of violence against them by people who share Bolsonaro’s views. The fact that he is frequently met with backlash is definitely a good sign, but I fear that a large number of people think as he does.