Brazil’s New Prez Keeps His Anti-LGBTQ Promises Jair Bolsonaro wasting no time scaling back rights for marginalized communities BY MATT TRACY
ate can’t wait. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil immediately launched his much-anticipated attacks against the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups with a series of executive orders during his first day in office. Within hours of becoming president on January 1, Bolsonaro, a self-declared homophobe, removed LGBTQ issues from consideration under the Ministry of Women, Family, and Human Rights, which is a unit within the president’s executive office that was formerly known as the Ministry of Human Rights. The new leader of that office, Damares Alves, signaled her plans to embrace Bolsonaro’s reactionary posture when she said during her swearing-in ceremony that “girls will be princesses and boys will be princes” while blasting the “ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers.” Bolsonaro also targeted Brazil’s
Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, moved quickly to keep faith with his promise to go after the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities.
native population by signing an executive order that makes it difficult for new land to be allocated for indigenous communities and descendants of slaves. While the Justice Ministry was previously responsible for allocating land to indigenous people, Bolsonaro shifted that power to the Agriculture Ministry amid outcry from agricultural business leaders protective of their economic interests, according to the Associated Press. Bolsonaro took to Twitter on Wednesday to justify the move in
a statement that downplayed the presence of indigenous people. “Less than one million people live in those places isolated from the real Brazil,” he tweeted on January 2. “They are exploited and manipulated by nonprofits. Together we will integrate those citizens and give value to all Brazilians.” Additionally, Luiz Henrique Mandetta of the Health Ministry indicated this week that healthcare funds for the indigenous population could be slashed. OutRight Action International, a global organization that addresses human rights for LGBTQ and intersex people, could not be reached for comment on the impact of Bolsonaro’s executive orders. Bolsonaro’s actions followed a presidential campaign during which he unleashed hateful rhetoric about indigenous people, minorities, LGBTQ people, and women en route to capturing the support of nearly 58 million voters. Among his campaign pledges included a commitment to promote “the true meaning of marriage as
a union between men and women,” sparking wide concern among the LGBTQ population about the fragility of marriage equality there. According to The New York Times, a number of same-sex couples have been rushing to the altar to tie the knot before Bolsonaro makes good on his pledge, although legal experts have predicted that Brazil’s Supreme Court would quickly strike down any legislation reversing marriage equality. Bolsonaro has fostered warm relations with President Donald Trump’s administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on January 2 that he had a “great” meeting with Bolsonaro and that he looks forward to reinforcing a “shared commitment” to “human rights.” In light of Bolsonaro’s executive actions and Trump’s documented hostility toward LGBTQ people, immigrants, women, and communities of color, it was not immediately clear which human rights “commitments” the two administrations shared.
Pakistan’s Trans Community Demands Protections Nondiscrimination measure passed last year has yet to be implemented into law BY MATT TRACY
akistan’s transgender community is calling on that nation’s government to implement a sweeping gender identity nondiscrimination bill that passed the National Assembly last May. Activists marched through the streets of Lahore, the nation’s second largest city, on December 30 and held a press conference to amplify their message in an effort to push the government to implement the Transgender Persons Act of 2018, according to the Express Tribune, a Pakistan-based newspaper. In a video posted on Periscope,
GayCityNews.nyc | January 17 - January 30, 2019
those who marched in the Pride Parade were seen holding signs that read “Trans Pride,” “I’m trans and against bullying,” “we are proud, we are transgender,” and “we are as normal as anyone else.” The transgender measure, hailed as a major step forward, offers a wide range of discrimination protections in education, employment, healthcare, and public accommodations and services. Public transportation rights are also protected, along with the right to rent or buy property and hold public office. The bill recognizes “his or her self-perceived gender identity” for identification purposes ranging from driver’s licenses to passports,
and requires the government to take specific steps to protect trans people by offering safe houses when necessary, providing separate living areas for prisoners, and more. Neeli Rana, a local leader, said the transgender community is thankful that the government passed the bill, but indicated that the issues facing transgender people are too urgent to wait any longer. “Transgender persons do not beg willingly,” she said. “It is also our right to protest and take to the streets. Now it is the government’s responsibility to implement this bill because in the past, women bill was passed but it has never been practically implemented.”
But the bill has led to a mixed reaction from the wider population in Pakistan, which is still heavily influenced by religion. According to the Tribune Express, at least one lawmaker opposed the bill after citing “un-Islamic clauses,” but other legislators were convinced that the bill was compatible with Islam and the nation’s constitution. Implementation of the measure would signal a major advance for transgender people, but basic civil rights are still lacking for the gay and lesbian community. Laws rooted in British colonial rule prohibit same-sex sexual activity, which is punishable by up to life in prison, according to the US State Department.
January 17, 2019