Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro already let down the LGBT community

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose elections has worried LGBT rights activists, gestures during a ceremony.

The government of Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro has wasted no time in targeting LGBT+ rights.

The ministry overseeing human rights, rebranded as the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, has failed to make any explicit reference to LGBT+ rights in listing its priorities and internal structures, the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports.

A provisional measure dated January 1—the government’s first day in office—which lists the various ministries’ prerogatives and internal bodies only names the entity responsible for fighting prejudice and intolerance as “National Council for Combating Discrimination,” rather than using its full name: National Council for Combating Discrimination and Promotion of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travestis and Transgender (CNCD / LGBT).

The full name currently still appears on the website of the ministry.

Damares Alves, who promised to protect LGBT rights despite her religious convictions, speaks after being appointed by Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia on December 6, 2018.

Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro appointed an evangelical pastor, Damares Alves, as the new minister for women, family and human rights. (Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty)

The new ministry also failed to explicitly mention LGBT+ people in referencing minority groups whose rights it seeks to protect and promote. It only lists women, family, childhood and adolescence, youth, elderly, people with disabilities, black people, social and ethnic minorities and indigenous communities.

LGBT+ activists protest Jair Bolsonaro government decision

News of the exclusion sparked debate on social media.

LGBT+ activist Daniela Mercury wrote in a tweet retweeted nearly 500 times and liked by 2,400 people: “The constitution protects us. We as a society need to demonstrate against the extinction of public policies for the LGBT+ population.”

An exasperated Twitter user wrote a response to people who questioned the need for LGBT+ rights to be explicitly mentioned as a priority for the ministry and those who believe the term “social and ethnic minorities” implicitly includes the LGBT+ community.

“It is not to have special human rights for us, PEOPLE DIE ONLY BECAUSE WE ARE DIFFERENT, only because we do not follow a pattern of hetero and cis society, come out of your bubble and understand this,” the tweet said.

The user, named Thiago, added: “As for the provisional measure, it covers us (for what I saw) but it does not give the necessary attention we all need, equal rights yes, but is there an improvement in that change? (and listen, it’s always how it starts…)”

Brazil counts one of the world’s highest murder rates for LGBT+ people, but Bolsonaro has repeatedly disregarded the need for measures against homophobia and transphobia.

Minister appointed by Jair bolsonaro met with LGBT+ groups

In a statement, the ministry sought to reassure the LGBT+ community that the naming issues would not affect their rights.

“The current Directorate for the Promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Tranvesti and Transsexual Rights, formerly a body of the National Secretariat of Citizenship, will be maintained, with the same structure, in the National Secretariat of Global Protection,” the statement read.

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