Brazil Elects Ultra-Conservative, Anti-Gay Politician as President

Jair Bolsonaro, the newly elected president of Brazil, once said he'd rather his son "die in an accident than be gay."

A staunchly anti-gay right-wing politician is slated to become the next president of the largest and most populous nation in Latin America.

Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain and conservative congressman, won Brazil’s presidency this Saturday, beating out his leftist opponent Fernando Haddad with some 55% of the vote, reports USA Today. He’s been dubbed “Brazil’s Donald Trump,” and the President of the United States even gave Bolsonaro a phone call to congratulate him on his win, according to Reuters.

Victor Moriyama/Getty Images
Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro during his campaign in September.

Bolsonaro’s campaign was riddled with controversy, including a stabbing incident that nearly killed him on the campaign trail in September. His propensity for shocking, offensive, and violent comments is no secret: After being accused of making comments that encouraged rape in 2014, Bolsonaro retaliated by claiming another congresswoman was “not worth raping; she is very ugly.”

The misogyny doesn’t stop there. In a 2016 interview on Brazilian television, Bolsonaro said he would never “employ [a woman] with the same salary [of a man].” During his campaign earlier this year, he called the birth of his only daughter “a moment of weakness.”

And in a 2011 interview with Playboy magazine, the politician said he’d never be able to love a homosexual son, adding, “I would prefer my son to die in an accident than be gay.”

Bolsonaro’s violently anti-gay comments have queer Brazilians fearing the worst, especially since violence against the LGBTQ community in Brazil is already prevalent. “[Bolsonaro] is breaking that understanding that we don’t attack people, we don’t discriminate against them,” Klayton Fausto, a gay hairdresser from São Paulo, told The Washington Post after he was assaulted by homophobic attackers in the weeks leading up to the election.

Earlier this year, Grupo Gay de Bahia, an independent queer advocacy group in Brazil, reported a staggering 30% increase in anti-LGBTQ homicides from 2016 to 2017. In March, Marielle Franco, a lesbian city councilor in Rio de Janeiro, was shot and killed. Just two months later, a 21-year-old non-binary model was murdered in the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio.

But Brazil also has a vibrant and vocal LGBTQ community. São Paulo’s annual Pride parade, believed to be the largest Pride celebration in the world, is more than 20 years old. This year’s festivities attracted some 3 million attendees from around the world. And marriage equality has been legal in Brazil since May 2013.

LGBTQ public figures around the world, including Pose star Indya Moore and Out magazine Editor-in-Chief Phillip Picardi, have taken to Twitter in support of Brazil’s queer community.

Portuguese-language hashtags like #EleNãoEMeuPresidente or #EleNão, meaning He is not my president, are being used to show solidarity.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella