It’s pre-election season in Brazil and, as in the States, at least one candidate is banking on a campaign of discrimination and homophobia to get him into office in 2018. Only, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro of the Christian Social Party makes Ted Cruz look like Barney Frank.
Bolsonaro, currently ranks fourth place in national polls, reportedly hurled a string of anti-gay slurs at a political rival during a vote.
An ardent defender of Brazil’s past dictatorship, he once said he’d rather his son die than come out as gay. He’s also compared same-sex marriage to pedophilia and once remarked a female politician was not “worthy of being raped.”
Bolsonaro recently appeared on Ellen Page’s Gaycation series, where he told the Juno actress she was “very pretty” after she asked “Do you think I should have been beaten as a child, to not be gay now?”
More highlights from Bolsonaro’s hall of shame:
* Talking to Stephen Fry, he dismissed questions about the murder of gay Brazilian teens, claiming “there is no homophobia in Brazil,” and that the victims “in places of drug use and prostitution or are killed by their own partner.”
* In the same interview, he claimed the LGBT rights movement just wants to recruit children for sex.
* Bolsonaro called the left-wing PSOL party a “party of dicks and faggots,” after a senator called for him to be investigated.
* When President Rousseff supported a program educating kids to respect gay people, he claimed it was because she was a lesbian “Stop lying,” he said on the floor of Congress, “[and] admit your love with homosexuals.”
* In 2013, he called Eleonora Menicucci, the Minister for Women’s Policy, a “big dyke.”
* Last year he supported a proposal to ban same-sex couples from adopting, claiming, “If you want a baby so badly, why don’t you go and rent a woman’s belly?” He later “joked” that “soon homosexuals will be able to have a uterus implanted in them.”
Brazil’s record with the LGBT community is complicated: While marriage equality passed in 2013, and the country is home to the world’s largest Pride celebration, more than 40% of all anti-LGBT violence in the world occurs in Brazil—in fact, one person is killed almost every day in a homophobic or transphobic attack. (In the same Gaycation episode, Page met with a Brazilian police officer who admits he has murdered gay people.)
A Bolsonaro presidency would see that heartbreaking statistic increase, advocates fear, and all those hard fought victories overturned.
“I don’t know what they can do,” Jean Wyllys, Brazil’s only openly gay congressman, told America’s Quarterly, “but I can say with certainty that it won’t be good for us.”
But Bolsonaro isn’t the only candidate giving cause for concern:
Presidential hopeful Levy Fidelix said this when asked why same-sex couples shouldn’t have children.
Lower House President Eduardo Cunha, currently third in line to the presidency, claims Brazil is “under attack” by gays and is trying to overturn the 2013 court ruling bringing marriage equality to the country.
And another top contender, Marina Silva, reversed her pro-LGBT stances after facing pressure from evangelical groups.
Jeez, we thought we had it bad in the U.S.