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Comment | Jair Bolsonaro and LGBT+ rights in Brazil

The far-right homophobic Brazilian presidential candidate won the first round of voting last weekend

By Steve Brown

Tadgh Dolan is a writer currently working in the tech sector in Dublin, Ireland.

Following Jair Bolsonaro’s win last weekend, Tadgh has compiled a list of queer artists in Brazil who are working to promote LGBT rights in Brazil.

He writes:

With the Brazilian General Elections looming, Jair Bolsonaro is a name that every LGBT+ person should know.

Unfortunately, knowing his name, or knowing anything about his politics, is not likely to inspire joy.

For Bolsonaro is a bigot, a homophobe and a blatant misogynist who in 2014 told a Congress woman, ‘I would not rape you because you do not deserve it.’   

Comments like these are commonplace with Bolsonaro who believes in gay conversion therapy and boasted that ‘gay children can be beaten straight.’

It’s divisive language, much in the air of Trumpian philosophy, with the US President being accused of multiple sexual assaults and hiring a Vice President that believes gay people can be made straight.   

It’s a scary time for Brazil, a country that from 1964-85 was under military rule. It’s also a hostile place for its LGBT+ population, with 445 Brazilians dying as victims of homophobia in 2017, according to LGBT+ watchdog Grupo Gay da Bahia.   

Despite this culture of homophobia, hope may lie with queer Brazilian artists who are speaking up against anti-gay propaganda, misogyny and bigotry. Here are a few of these artists that we should look out for in 2018:   

Pabllo Vittar   

Arguably the most successful drag queen in the world, Pabllo Vittar is an artist making waves globally.

Vittar first hit the scene in 2015 with a samba cover of Major Lazer’s smash hit ‘Lean On’.

As a solo artist Vittar has had hit songs like ‘Sua Cara’ and ‘K.O.’ and has amassed an Instagram following of 7.3 million.  

In 2018 Vittar became the centre of a media controversy after the drag queen’s advertisement for Coca Cola was criticised by conservative groups in Brazil.

The backlash showed the ever-present levels of homophobia that still permeate Brazilian society.   

Vittar is now considered a voice for the LGBT+ community in Brazil and is a defiance to the toxic culture of machismo that permeates much of South America.   

Karol Conká   

One of the most prominent female rappers in Brazil, Karol Conká has become known for her outspoken views on sexuality and feminism.   

Openly bisexual, Conká has become an emblem for the queer community in Brazil.

Through hit songs such as ‘Lalá’, ‘Tombei’ and ‘Boa Noite’, Conká has also garnered millions of fans internationally through her expansive online presence.  

Linn da Quebrada 

A trans woman of colour, Linn da Quebrada is one of the most exciting and daring artists in Brazil.   

Growing up in the favelas of São Paulo, Quebrada is a singer and activist who tackles issues of gender identity, transphobia and class inequality through her work.

An outspoken activist, Quebrada uses her body as a weapon against the inequality and disparity that she sees in Brazilian society. 

Quebrada also isn’t shy about calling out inequality within the queer community also.

Issues such as masc for masc, prejudice against ‘fem’ gays, and transphobia within the LGBT+ community are explored and questioned in her work.  

Her documentary ​Tranny Fag highlighted her on stage activism and persona. It went on to win the Teddy Award at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival.