Brazil a step closer to homophobic and sexist president

Jair Bolsonaro (Pic: Antonio Cruz/Agência Brasil)

With the world’s highest rate of LGBT murders, more voters in Brazil have backed Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing homophobe, to lead the nation.

Latin America’s largest democracy held its first-round presidential election on Sunday, which saw Bolsonaro win 46.93% of votes, the strongest level of support received among all the candidates.

He was, however, narrowly unable to secure a more than 50% majority. This means he will go up against leftist Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who won 28% of the vote, in a second round of voting on 28 October.

Bolsonaro’s promise to take Brazil out of its economic slump and tackle endemic corruption has resonated with many voters, despite his hate speech attacks on minorities and support for autocratic rule.

In 2002, the 63-year-old former soldier, said: “If I see two men kissing each other in the street, I’ll whack them.”

In 2011, he commented that, “I would be incapable of loving a gay son,” adding that he would, “rather my son died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache.”

He has also equated homosexuality to pedophilia and suggested that most homosexuals who are murdered are sex workers and not worthy of protection through new legislation.

Bolsonaro, who is described as a Donald Trump-style nationalist and populist, has previously stated that: “I am in favor of a dictatorship… We will never resolve serious national problems with this irresponsible democracy.”

In January, it was revealed that more than one LGBT person is murdered every day in Brazil because of their sexuality or gender identity; the highest LGBT homicide rate in the world.

According to the organisation Grupo Gay de Bahia, which monitors LGBT hate crimes, there were a 387 murders in 2017, an increase of 30% compared to 2016. Initial reports indicate that the 2018 LGBT murder rate will be even higher.

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