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Brazil’s Supreme Court Rules Homophobia and Transphobia Is Illegal

Six out of 11 judges of Brazil’s Supreme Court have voted that discrimination against gays and transgender people equivalent to racism and therefore a crime punishable by law.

The decision will give the community, which suffers constant attacks, real protection, activists say.

At least 141 LGBT people have been killed in Brazil this year, according to rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia.

“Homophobic crimes are as alarming as physical violence,” Supreme Court Vice-President Luiz Fux said on his vote, citing “epidemic levels of homophobic violence”.

For almost 20 years there have been efforts to make homophobia a crime in Brazil, but legislation on the matter has faced resistance among conservative and religious groups in Congress.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who assumed office on Jan. 1, has a history of offensive comments about gays, blacks and other minorities, openly acknowledging he is a homophobe. He has said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

The decision at the Supreme Court means that offences are to be punished under the country’s racism law until Congress approves specific legislation to protect LGBT people,

Racism was made a crime in Brazil in 1989 with prison sentences of up to five years.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's well known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story, Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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