Per the report by local LGBT rights group Grupo Gay de Bahia, at least 387 homophobia-related deaths were recorded in Brazil last year. Adding to this gruesome number are 58 suicide cases largely due to homophobic comments hurled against members of the LGBT community in the country.
The group said that this is a 30 percent increase from the reported 327 deaths recorded in 2016, according to the report of Pink News. The same report cited that while Brazil has a high homicide rate of 62,000 cases, the group noted that it has only included LGBT deaths that were directly caused by homophobic-related violence.
A Newsweek report, meanwhile, also showed that at least one member of the LGBT community is killed every 19 hours in the country during the same period.
One of the more known cases is that of Dandara dos Santos, a transsexual woman who was seen in a video being beaten to death in the northeastern Brazil city of Fortaleza in March of 2017. The video also showed that her killers were hurling homophobic slurs while she was being tortured to death.
Grupo Gay de Bahia lashed out at the seemingly increasing record of homophobia-related deaths in the country. President Luiz Mott cried fouled at the rising violence as a result of mainstream ultraconservative politicians. A report by The Guardian quoted Mott saying that the violence is merely a discourse that destroys solidarity and equates LGBT people to animals.
Mott, an anthropologist by profession, added that TV programs directly connected to evangelical churches often compare homosexuality to the devil. Alleged homophobic speeches, such as this, are not a punishable federal crime. Adding to the woes is that similar state and municipal laws are rarely efficient and sometimes are not enforced wilfully.
According to Executive Director of the Amnesty International Brazil Jurema Werneck, in the last decade, Brazil looked to enact policies that could protect vulnerable groups such as the LGBT community but most of which failed largely because of lack of investment or change in the vision of policy.
Grupo Gay de Bahia’s report is quite a contrast to Brazil being known as a country where the world’s largest gay parade usually takes place. It is also a dissonance since gay marriage is legal in the country.
Human rights groups based in Brazil, meanwhile, proactively responded to the group’s glaring statistics by condemning the Brazilian government by their seeming silence in protecting the LGBT people in Brazil.