- Brazil’s president told reporters that he doesn’t want his country to become “a gay tourism paradise.”
- Jair Bolsonaro added that Brazil can’t join the “gay world” because “we have families.”
- An LGBT campaigner said the latest comments are in keeping with Bolsonaro’s years-long attacks on minorities.
- Bolsonaro has previously said that he is “homophobic and proud of it.”
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the South American country should not become “a gay tourism paradise,” sparking outrage among the Brazilian LGBT community.
“Whoever wants to come here to have sex with a woman can go for it. But we can’t be known as a paradise for the gay world,” he said, according to the Brazilian news site O Antagonista.
“Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families,” he continued, according to Exame magazine.
The far-right leader, who often makes headlines with homophobic, misogynist, and racist rhetoric, made the latest comments during a breakfast meeting with journalists on Thursday.
Read more: The ‘Brazilian Donald Trump,’ Jair Bolsonaro, is visiting the White House. He was elected president despite saying he couldn’t love a gay son and that a colleague was too ‘ugly’ to be raped
Renan Calheiros, an LGBT activist in São Paulo, told the Guardian that Bolsonaro’s remarks give “a green light to already alarming levels of violence against the LGBT community” by implying that only heterosexual families can be considered genuine.
Jean Wyllys, a LGBT campaigner who went into exile after receiving death threats, framed the comments as a continuation of Bolsonaro’s years-long rhetoric against minorities.
“With this unhappy declaration and this unhappy gesture against the LGBT community, Bolsonaro is just being Bolsonaro. Everyone knew this,” he said in a Twitter video.
Bolsonaro, who came into power with an anti-establishment campaign in January, has a history of offending the LGBT community specifically.
He famously said that he is “homophobic and proud of it,” and that he would rather have his son “die in an accident” than come home with a man. On many occasions, he said that gay children should be spanked.
During last year’s presidential campaign, the former army captain softened his stance. He argued that he was not homophobic, but simply opposed the so-called “gay kit,” a pejorative term conservatives use to talk about anti-homophobia materials the previous government tried to introduce in schools.
In Thursday’s breakfast meeting, Bolsonaro acknowledged that even this stance has sparked international criticism, and that he is seen as homophobic abroad, Exame reported.
His inflammatory comments has become so well-known around the world that he has been shunned on certain occasions. Two New York venues, one of them the American Museum of Natural History, have already refused to host a gala in his honour.
“What happened was that there was pressure from local Democratic politicians, and I am Donald Trump’s ally,” he said, according to Exame.
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