A 22-year-old gay man was attacked in the Brazilian city of Florianópolis last week in an apparent hate crime. The violent assault against the unnamed man involved three men gang-raping the victim before forcing him to carve homophobic slurs into his legs with a knife, reports The Guardian.
The man was found in the street where he was left by his alleged attackers and rushed to hospital where he recovered before being released. The horrific attack has sparked outrage in the Brazilian community with many LGBTQIA+ people feeling that the violence was encouraged by the current government’s intolerant attitude.
Lirous Ávila, president of the Association in Defence of Human Rights, claims that attacks such as this are not uncommon in Brazil. Ávila said, “This is a frightening crime but it’s very common in Brazil, and violence – not only against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people but also women, black people and immigrants – is worsening”.
According to The Guardian, many Brazilian locals were shocked to hear of the crime, but there were also some who excused the violence as justifiable due to the victim being gay.
In 2018, conservative politician Jair Bolsonaro was elected as the President of Brazil, and since then he has made disparaging comments towards the LGBTQIA+ community on numerous occasions, reports The Advocate.
President Bolsonaro has said that wearing a mask during the pandemic was “for fairies” and that Brazil should stop being “a nation of fags”. These comments demonstrate leadership’s attitude towards the gay community, alongside the fact that perpetrators of violent crimes are often not charged for the attacks. In an interview, Bolsonaro once said, “Yes, I’m homophobic – and very proud of it,” reports The Guardian.
According to The Advocate, Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest LGBTQIA+ rights organisation in Latin America, reports 237 individual accounts of LGBTQIA+ deaths from violence in 2020 alone. During the first six months of last year, the national Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office received 1,134 complaints of anti-LGBTQ+ violence, discrimination, and other forms of abuse.
This attack happened at the beginning of Pride Month, with many activists claiming that violence like this will continue to occur unless Brazil’s government makes a stand against homophobic and intolerant action.