A Huge Country with a Huge Gay Scene For the second time in as many months I happened to be in a country when historic LGBT events have occurred. First, in Botswana in March of this year when the human rights organization, Bonela, and the LGBT association LeGaBiBo, for the first time ever, filed a
Brazil is the fifth largest country by geographical area, occuping nearly half of South America, the fifth most populous country, and the fourth most populous democracy in the world. In 1830, Dom Pedro I signed into law the Imperial Penal Code eliminating all references to sodomy. As of 2003, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was prohibited in 73 municipal statutes, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and three state constitutions. Same-sex civil unions have been established at the state level in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. A court decision has been pending since 2005 on legalizing marriage nationwide.
Despite some positive laws, research done in 2005 found that 65% of the homosexuals interviewed in that year’s São Paulo Gay Pride Parade said that they were victims of hate speech and/or suffered physical aggression. In mid-2006, Brazil launched Brazil Against Homophobia, a campaign against homophobia within the country including TV advertisement and billboards. The first adoption in Brazil by a same-sex couple was by a lesbian couple from Rio Grande do Sul. In May 2011 Brazil’s Federal Surpeme Court ruled unanimously (10 to 0) that Civil Unions are legally acceptable relationships between adult citizens of the same gender. Read more about gay rights.
Brazil is a dazzle. Every aspect of this huge country overwhelms, challenges, stimulates or puzzles the first time visitor, which I am. I came for three full weeks and each day has been a unique chapter in my memory book–even just driving a car on the main highways here. Brazil decided decades ago, unfortunately, to
Intro: A guest author from Holland leaps across the Atlantic to far off Salvador city in Brazil where he finds sunshine, passion and willing companions to share languid days and steamy nights. He offers useful insights on realities of money, prostitution, LGBT venues, lesbians and pro-gay laws.
Homosexuality in Brazil: Two Stories
(1) A long candid talk with author James N. Green who wrote Beyond Carnival,–“a story of how gays found a way to survive in a society laced with petty prejudices, stereotypes, and violence. In the midst of it all, they managed to create lives for themselves that were full of passion, pain, love, happiness, and a bit of drama.”
(2) This is followed by personal comments by a native gay Brazilian who says “The laws here are very fair towards gays… gays and straights live freely with each other.”
Downtown Centro Rio is inland from the beaches. It is the heart of the city where financial, legislative and political offices are located. These include Brazil’s first state-supported LGBT agencies that were set up to counter homophobia in the city–‘Rio Sem Homophobia’. Their offices take up a whole floor of City Hall. Centro also includes
Santa Teresa is the name of an uphill neighborhood above Rio Centro on Santa Teresa hill. It’s famous for its winding, narrow streets along which ‘upscale slums’ are mixed with middle-class houses and artist studios. Among the buildings are some elegant mansions left over from the more opulent 19th century. In 1896, the Carioca Aqueduct,
Rocinha is the largest slum (favela) area in Rio. It’s situated on the hills behind the city with panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. The people are generally poor but life in the favela teems with energy, enterprise, domestic activity, artwork, music (we encountered a spontaneous dance performance by a 9 year-old), day care
Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ on Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. It is 39.6 metres (130 ft) tall and 30 metres (98 ft) wide. The statue has become an icon of Rio and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed
Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach are a paradise for people watching, sunbathing and socializing. On weekends the avenues along the beaches are closed to traffic and they become great long promenades of people dressed in every manner of attire–including uninhibited men and women dressed in tiny swimsuits. The atmosphere is mellow, respectful, playful and friendly
Sao Paulo has significant influence nationally and internationally, in terms of culture, economy and politics. It houses several important monuments, parks and museums. It is also home to the world’s largest gay Pride Parade that happens every June (separately from Carnival in February). The last parade, held on June 6, 2010, attracted about 3 million