Gay Brazilian Lawmaker Quits and Flees Country Due to Threats

Even with bodyguards, he was still physically attacked in the streets.

A gay lawmaker in Brazil will not serve the term to which he was recently re-elected, instead deciding to flee the country due to death threats.

Jean Wyllys is Brazil’s second openly gay congressman, and in a letter to his party, the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), explained his decision, saying the situation has made his life unbearable, and sharing that his siblings and his mother have also been threatened.

Anti-LGBTQ violence is a growing epidemic in the country, and Wyllys said the election of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has made matters worse. Bolsonaro has made disparaging comments about queer people, and on his first day in office set to putting legislative muscle to his hateful rhetoric, going after not only the LGBTQ community but also other minority groups.

Last year, Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, also a member of the PSOL, who identified as bisexual, was shot and killed in an execution-style murder that also claimed the life of her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes.

Wyllys said he has been living with bodyguards since the incident, and even with the protection was pushed in the streets. He said the final straw was learning Bolsonaro’s son, Flavio, had employed a fugitive former police officer who is suspected of being involved in Franco’s assassination.

“It was not Bolsonaro’s election itself. It was the level of violence that has increased since he was elected,” Wyllys told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, according to Reuters.

“I don’t want to sacrifice myself,” he added. “I want to take care of myself and stay alive.”

He will be replaced by another gay lawmaker, Rio councilman David Miranda, who is married to journalist Glenn Greenwald.

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