Fury as far-right president Bolsonaro says Brazil should not become ‘gay tourism paradise’

‘Anyone who wants to come here to have sex with a woman, feel free’

Alessio Perrone
Friday 26 April 2019 16:41
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Channel 4's Carnival Wars looks at Bolsonaro's impact on the country's LGBT community

Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro sparked outrage when he said Brazil should not be “the country of gay tourism”.

“Anyone who wants to come here to have sex with a woman, feel free,” Mr Bolsonaro told national reporters in Brasilia on Thursday morning, O Antagonista reported.

“But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise,” he added. “Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”

His statements caused immediate reactions by LGBT+ rights activists and opposition politicians.

Jean Wyllys, an openly gay politician who fled in exile in January after receiving death threats, called the statements an “unhappy declaration” against the LGBT+ community, in a video posted on Twitter.

“[Bolsonaro] is in line with far-right populist governments emerging across the world, who use gender issues to stir up hate against minorities in society.”

Maria Do Rosado, former secretary of state for human rights and a politician for Brazil’s left-leaning Workers’ Party (PT) said on Twitter: “Bolsonaro disrespects one more time Brazilian women claiming they are available for sexual tourism.

“Bolsonaro attacks one more time LGBTs. Bolsonaro offers Brazil as a brothel.”

She added on Facebook: “Brazil can and should be the country of diversity and of all families. What Brazil cannot do is be a homophobic, sexist, racist, militia, orange and Fake News country.”

In the past, Mr Bolsonaro notoriously attacked Ms Do Rosado, saying: “I would never rape you because you do not deserve it.”

“Another damage to the image of our country!” tweeted Carlos Tufvesson, an openly gay fashion designer who is well known for his activism in Brazil.

Even Paulo Coelho, the most famous contemporary Brazilian novelist, came out against the president.

“Brazilian women ARE NOT a commodity. Sex tourism is NOT a reason to visit Brazil,” he wrote on Twitter.

This is not the first of Mr Bolsonaro’s homophobic statements. In the past he bragged that he was “homophobic, and very proud”, and that he’d rather have a dead son than a homosexual son.

After Mr Bolsonaro assumed office this year, his government turned sharply against LGBT+ rights and feminism, supporting what they view as “traditional” family values instead.

“Girls wear pink, and boys wear blue,” Damares Alves, the evangelical pastor appointed minister of women and family, said on her first day in office.

“Girls will be princesses, and boys will be princes,” she added. “There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.”

Mr Bolsonaro accumulated an impressive amount of controversial statements in his time as federal deputy for Rio de Janeiro. He has attacked minorities, including indigenous groups, Brazilians of colour and the LGBT+ community, and publicly referred to the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985 as a “glorious” period.

His latest comments came as he addressed reporters about the decision of the American Museum of Natural History not to host an event in which Mr Bolsonaro was due to be honoured.

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