May 12, 2015 – Reported by Newsweek – “I was walking to the elevator when he came up behind me. ‘This’ll teach you to never look at a real man again. Now you’re going to die, faggot!’ he screamed, before stabbing me in the neck.”
I’m talking to Rodrigo Mariano Miguel, a young man living in a small town on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil. He’s tall and thin, and despite the neck brace he’s wearing, he talks animatedly about what happened that day. The attack came in his apartment building, and he shows me the security video that captured everything. In it, you can see Miguel walking calmly into the complex. Moments later, his attacker rushes up behind him, brandishing a kitchen knife. The man stabs Miguel twice in the neck before running away.
“When I got to the hospital,” says Miguel, “the doctors told me I was extremely lucky. I came inches away from being a quadriplegic for the rest of my life.”
Miguel’s next-door neighbor, Wanderson Pacheco de Oliveira, 39, has been charged with grievous bodily harm. Miguel says the assault was the culmination of months of verbal abuse that started when Oliveira found out he was gay. “When I’d stand with him in the elevator, he’d whisper ‘bitch’ or ‘faggot’ under his breath,” Miguel says. “But I never imagined it would escalate like that.”..story continues below…