Sao Paulo holds 'world's biggest' gay parade

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The Independent Online

Homosexuals and their supporters filled Sao Paulo's main avenue Sunday for an annual Gay Parade that organizers claimed was the biggest in the world with an estimated three million participants.

The colorful procession took place under a bright blue sky, with floats blaring techno music bedecked with gym-hard bodies in swimsuits and dancing transvestites.

Organizers this year sought to place the gay agenda in political campaigns for Brazilian presidential elections in October by promoting the theme "Vote against homophobia."

Gay rights groups say that although Brazil is a relatively open society in terms of homosexuality, 198 gays were killed last year in homophobic attacks.

The gay pride association running the parade said that since it started in 1997, the event has become the biggest gay parade in the world, outdoing celebrations in San Francisco and Sydney.

The Sao Paulo parade is financed by the state government with sponsorship from Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras.

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