Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled that homophobia and transphobia should be made illegal, with anti-LGBTQ crimes becoming the equivalent to racist crimes. This means those found guilty of anti-LGBTQ crimes will face five years in prison.
The result came after six of the eleven judges on the Supreme Court ruled in favour. The other five judges are set to cast their vote on June 5, however their votes will not change the overall outcome.
The judges made the ruling on two cases that were brought to them by the human rights group ABGLT and the Popular Socialist Party. They were arguing that the Brazilian Congress failing to make anti-LGBTQ violence illegal was “unconstitutional.”
LGBTQ people in the country praised the ruling. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Alfonso Nogueira said: “This is a day I never thought would come, especially with the president we have now.
“The threats we live with on a daily basis might finally be taken seriously. Now someone will have to do something about them. This shows that our lives matter.”
Despite having a range of LGBTQ rights, anti-LGBTQ violence in Brazil is incredibly high. Last year, it it was revealed that 40% of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the world took place in the country. Grupo Gay da Bahia say that 141 LGBTQ people have already been killed in Brazil this year alone.
Anthropologist and president of Grupo Gay de Bahia, Luiz Mott, has claimed that the rising violence has come about following the prominence of ultraconservative politicians in the country.
Brazil has the “proud homophobe” Jair Bolsonaro as its president. In the past, Bolsonaro has said he’d rather his son die in an accident than be gay, and in an interview with Playboy, he said he “would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.” He added: “If a gay couple came to live in my building, my property will lose value. If they walk around holding hands, kissing, it will lose value!”
He removed LGBTQ concerns on his first day in office, as he felt that “gender-based ideology” was a threat to Brazil’s Christian values. And last month, he said he didn’t want the country to become a “gay tourism paradise.”
Last year, Switzerland also made homophobia and transphobia illegal. Mathias Reynard, who proposed the bill, said: “Homophobia is not an opinion. It’s a crime. One in five homosexuals attempted suicide, half before the age of 20. This victory sends a strong signal.”