Lesbian City Councillor Shot And Killed In Brazil, Where An LGBT Person Is Murdered Every Day

"The scene is clearly of an execution."

Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco was brutally murdered Wednesday night, sparking demonstrations across Brazil. Franco, who identified as a member of the LGBT community, was shot dead by two men in what is being reported as a targeted assassination.

Franco came from Brazil’s favelas, where a quarter of Rio’s population lives in grinding poverty, and made fighting for oppressed peoples and against police brutality her platform when she was elected in 2016.

The AP reports two men fired nine shots into a car carrying Franco and driver Anderson Pedro Gomes, who were both killed. A press officer who was in the back seat, was injured but survived. “The scene is clearly of an execution,” said Marcelo Freixo of Franco’s Socialism and Liberty Party. “The shots were all directed at her. They were all from a professional.”

Anti-LGBT violence is at an all-time high in Brazil, where more than 40% of all anti-LGBT violence in the world occurs. According to Grupo Gay de Bahia reported, there were 387 homicides attributed to homophobia or anti-gay violence in 2017, or more than one per day.

“We live off this image as an open and tolerant place,” Jandira Queiroz of Amnesty International Brazil told The New York Times in 2016. “[But] homophobic violence has hit crisis levels and it’s getting worse.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.