On July 11, 2016 The Huffington Post reported: On a Sunday, July 3, protesters in Brazil took to one of the main avenues in São Paulo to show their support for Congressman Jair Bolsonaro (PSC-RJ), who is a defendant before the Supreme Court for inciting rape and is under investigation by the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives for having praised a torturer of Brazil’s military dictatorship during President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment vote. The Congressman is known for his homophobic, racist, misogynistic and xenophobic statements. He is also a potential candidate in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election and has more than 3 million followers on his Facebook page.
On the same day, media published articles about the death of Diego Vieira Machado, a student of Letters at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). The 29-year-old Diego was found dead in the Fundão campus, located in the northern region of Rio, semi-naked and showing signs of abuse. He was gay, black, poor and was born in the north of Brazil, and according to friends he had suffered several threats. As of the publication of this article, there are four possible suspects.
A day before, the victim was a 24-year-old named André Felipe Colares. He wasfound dead after a graduation party at the State University of Montes Claros (Unimontes), in the state of Minas Gerais. He had a cut on his neck and showed signs of torture; both eyes were pierced by toothpicks, his pants and underwear were down near his ankles. According to his family, André was gay.
In June, at least three other crimes related to LGBT-phobia were featured in the Brazilian media. In Rio de Janeiro, the body of 24-year-old Wellington Mendonçawas found in Olaria, in the northern region of Rio, shirtless, his face disfigured and bloodied.
In Manaus (AM), a 21-year-old transvestite identified as Gabriel Vieira Lima was stabbed in the neck by two men on a motorbike. Although the police registered the crime as robbery (a theft followed by death), nothing was taken from the victim.
Two days before, two gay teachers of a public school in Santaluz, Bahia, 260 km from Salvador, were found inside the trunk of a car on the side of the BA-120 road. Both the vehicle and the bodies were charred.
All of these crimes took place in less than one month and were just the onesfeatured in Brazilian media.
An Epidemic Of Hate
According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia (The Gay Group of Bahia), one of the few organizations that publish data about crimes motivated by LGBT-phobia in Brazil, up to now 160 gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and transvestites were murdered in 2016. The number was 319 in 2015 and 1,600 were killed in the last four years.
These numbers, however, do not reflect the real violence against Brazil’s LGBT population. As there is no federal law to force police stations to register crimes motivated by LGBT-phobia, it is very difficult to tell the exact number of real victims of this kind of violence. According to current estimates by Grupo Gay da Bahia, at least one LGBT person is murdered every 28 hours in Brazil.