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Brazil Inches Forward in Efforts Towards Combatting Homophobia

05/17/2017 - 11h53

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PEDRO DINIZ
FOLHA COLUMNIST

The country that exported two of most sought after transsexuals in the fashion world, Valentina Sampaio and Lea T., is also one of the ones that kills the most transgender individuals in the world.

In the first four months of this year alone, the number of murders in the most vulnerable group in the LGBT community in Brazil increased by 20% over the same period in 2016, which until now had been the most violent in the decade for these people.

According to the most recent report of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Brazil ranks in first place in the number of homicides of LGBTs in the Americas, with 343 deaths motivated by homophobia in 2016.

Brazilian activists estimate that 144 of these homicides were of transvestites and transsexuals.

Due to a lack of monitoring in countries where homosexuality is criminalized, like French Guiana and Barbados, and a lack of official data from these countries, the exact rankings can't be confirmed.

Adriano Vizoni/Folhapress
"Being gay is wonderful. Your prejudices are an outrage"
"Being gay is wonderful. Your prejudices are an outrage"

However, the data is highlighted in the report, which is being used as a basis for discussions taking place at the UN regarding the theme and which is released every year on the International Day Against Homophobia, celebrated this Wednesday (the 17th).

Although there have been recent victories, like the authorization for public servants to use their chosen name - that which they adopt publicly and not what is registered on their birth certificate - the country is only inching towards promoting respect in family, educational and work environments.

According to Toni Reis, the Secretary of Education of the Brazilian Association of Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals, due to discrimination in schools it is rare for trans-individuals to manage to finish their education.

"They are unofficially expelled. The transphobia is so great that the discrimination that they suffer is twice as severe as what is suffered by some male gays, who sometimes end up not being recognized since they don't reveal themselves as homosexuals", he explained.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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