As Brazil rounds into a new presidential election, the country will see the first openly gay candidate on the ticket. Eduardo Leite is a presidential hopeful and in a recent interview with journalist Pedro Bial, the governor opened up about his sexuality and came out as a gay man, reports Gay Times.
Eduardo Leite (36) the governor of Rio Grande do Sul said in a television interview, “I have never spoken about a subject related to my private life. But during this moment of low integrity in Brazil, I have nothing to hide, I am gay. I am a governor who is gay, not a gay governor,” says Leite.
The interview encouraged much support for the presidential hopeful from fellow political figures and the public; Fabiano Contarato, Brazil’s first openly gay senator, took to Twitter to offer words of congratulations.
Contarato says, “I congratulate Governor Eduardo Leite for his bravery! I know the pain that prison in the closet is, especially in a conservative environment like politics.”
“Everyone must find the right moment for this… be happy and do your great work: life will be lighter,” he finished.
Brazil’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro, is openly homophobic and endorses anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments.
According to Gay Times, Bolsonaro’s response to the news that his opponent came out was to say, “I have nothing against his private life, but he cannot impose his lifestyle on others.” This would not be the first public instance of homophobia that Bolsonaro has demonstrated.
According to the Gay Times, Bolsonaro said in a Playboy interview that he couldn’t love a gay son and if he had one he’d “rather he die in an accident”. In 2013, the Brazilian president accused the LGBTQIA+ community of trying to turn children gay as a means to “satisfy their sexuality in the future”.
In the face of the homophobic rhetoric in Brazil currently, the news that they have an openly gay candidate for next year’s election should come as a relief to the LGBTQIA+ community. Leite took to Twitter to express his gratitude for the support he has received.
“The countless messages of affection and support I am receiving make me absolutely sure: love will conquer hate! Thank you very, very much everyone!”