One LGBT person is killed almost every day in Brazil


Itaberli Lozano and his mother (Facebook)

A shocking and tragic record has been broken: More LGBT people were murdered in Brazil in 2016 than in any of the 36 previous years that these hate-based attacks have been documented.

According to the Gay Group of Bahia (GGB), 343 LGBT individuals were killed in the past year. That equates to approximately one LGBT person being murdered every 25 hours in Brazil.

The organisation said that 173 of the victims were gay, 144 were transgender, 10 were lesbian and 4 were bisexual. The statistics also encompass ten heterosexual victims, who were relatives or acquaintances of transgender individuals.

An example is street vendor Luiz Carlos Ruas, who was killed on Christmas day after defending a homosexual and a transgender person from assailants in a subway station in São Paulo.

The study also includes the murder of 17-year-old Itaberli Lozano at the end of December. The gay teen was allegedly stabbed to death by his mother, with the help of two thugs, apparently because she refused to accept his sexual orientation. She and her husband then dumped the body in a cane field and set it alight.

The GGB report was compiled on the basis of cases reported online and in the media and are likely to under-represent the true scale of deadly homophobia. The authors noted that there are no official statistics on murders linked to the victims’ gender identity or sexual orientation in Brazil.

“Since the 1970s I realised that it was vital to document the murders of LGBT people, which is the height of homophobia,” Luiz Mott, anthropologist and one of the authors, told O Globo.

“We’ve always insisted that the government should take charge of the database, as happens in other countries like the United States. So we continue with three people doing this work, without financial support.”

The organisation blamed institutional homophobia for the fact that only 10% of the cases documented in 2016 went to court.

“When there are witnesses, they often refuse to testify due to anti-LGBT prejudice. Police officers, delegates and judges manifest their homo-transphobia by ignoring such crimes and denying without a plausible justification their homophobic connotations,” said the authors.

While LGBT Brazilians have many rights, including marriage equality and adoption by gays and lesbians, the community continues to face some of the highest levels of deadly violence in the world.

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