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Monday, 23 May 2011

In Brazil, thousands protest for new LGBT hate crimes law

(All photos by Alexandra Martins, see photoset)
As part of the "Seminário LGBT" at the Brazilian Parliament on May 17, activists presented the All Out / Avaaz petition signed by 100,000+ in support of passing the Anti-Homophobia law, that would finally give ALL Brazilians equal protection under the law.

(All photos by Alexandra Martins, see photoset)
On May 17, All Out organized a massive outdoor photo projection in Brasília, the Brazilian capital, in support of the proposed Anti-Homophobia law (PLC 122). All Out's photo petition drew hundreds of submissions from around the world, some which were projected against the wall of the National Library in downtown Brasília. Brazil has one of the higest rates of attacks and murders of LGBT people in the world, and the projection accompanied a vigil in memory of the over 260 LGBT Brazilians who lost their lives to homophobic or transphobic violence in 2010.

Thousands of gays and supporters marched 18 May in the Brazilian capital to demand that Congress pass a bill criminalising hate crimes against LGBT.

The march covered the central Esplanade of the Ministries up to the Congress building with rainbow flags and banners with slogans like "For a world without racism, without sexism, without homophobia."

The marches were encouraged that 5 May the Brazilian Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF, supreme court) recognized the legality of gay civil unions.

Irina Bacci, general secretary of the Associação Brasileira de Lésbicas, Gays, Bissexuais, Travestis e Transexuais (ABGLT), and organiser of the march said "we want Congress to assert our rights as well as the STF has."

"We have to equate the crime of homophobia to racism," said Bacci, recalling that Brazilian legislation criminalises racism.

The bill, being debated in the Senate, has not made progress because of opposition from a powerful evangelical Christian bloc of legislators, who are supported by other conservatives.

After demonstrating in front of the Congress, activists moved on to the STF, where the march ended with a symbolic embrace of the highest Brazilian court in a sign of gratitude for their unanimous decision to recognize same-sex unions.

The Brazilian LGBT movement is also pushing Congress to pass a law allowing gay marriage, but even lawmakers sympathetic to their cause say that at this point it would be difficult to get approval.
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