Brazil has officially criminalised homophobia and transphobia following fears the country’s far-right administration would restrict the LGBTQ+ community’s rights.
A top court made the ruling on Thursday to address the legal shortfall that failed to address their rights, now classing homophobia and transphobia in the same category as racism.
People who are found guilty of homophobia and transphobia face prison sentences of up to five years in prison.
Gay rights group, Grupo Gay da Bahia, claim 420 LGBTQ+ people were killed in Brazil during 2018 while 141 people have been killed so far this year.
Brazil also has the highest number of transgender homicides with 171 recorded in 2017 alone, as reported by the organisation, Transgender Europe, with someone being killed in a homophobic attack every 16 hours.
As reported by the Independent, Justice Carmen Lucia said:
In a discriminatory society like the one we live in, the homosexual is different and the transsexual is different.
Every preconception is violence, but some impose more suffering than others.
Justice Ricardo Lewandowski is one of the judges who voted against the bill, however he recognised the lack of congressional legislation on the issue.
He argued that putting homophobia within the same framework of racism legislation because this has the power to create ‘types of crimes’ and set punishments.
The supreme court had already revealed its intentions in May, after six of 11 judges ruled in favour of the measure, but was suspended until the other judges voted on the matter.
Brazillian president and former army captain Jair Bolsonaro has raised concerns over his views towards LGBTQ+ people, having previously spoken out 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, which he later confirmed in subsequent interviews.
Racism was made a crime in Brazil in 1989 and now homophobia and transphobia will fall under the same rules of discrimination.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, Or email [email protected]
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.