Attending the request of ABGLT (Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans Association), on Friday June 4th Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, signed a decree creating the National Day Against Homophobia, to be commemorated annually on May 17th. The Decree was published in the Official Gazette, today, Monday June 7th (text below).
The news was received on Friday evening by ABGLT’s president during the 10th Citizenship and Respect for Diversity Awards, held by the São Paulo LGBT Pride Association.
According to Toni Reis, ABGLT’s president, “the Decree is the governmental recognition that homophobia exists in Brazil and that concrete actions are needed to reduce or eliminate prejudice, discrimination and stigma against the LGBT community. We hope that Brazil’s example will be followed by the 75 countries where homosexuality is a crime and in the 7 countries where the death penalty exists for homosexuals”, he said. Reis also congratulated the federal government, in particular the Human Rights Secretariat of the President’s Office, for its efforts in approving the Decree.
The Decree adds to the list of honoured campaign proposals made prior to president Lula’s second term of office (2007-2010): the continuity of the Brazil Without Homophobia Programme; the holding of the 1st National LGBT Conference; the creation of the National LGBT Coordination, the National LGBT Council and the National Plan to Promote LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights. While the national Legislative Branch has failed to approve any laws that would guarantee the equal rights of the LGBT community, the Judiciary and Executive Branches have shown, through decisions and actions, that Brazil respects its Federal Constitution, articles 3 and 5 of which state that there will be no discrimination and that all people are equal before the law, without distinction of any nature.
May 17th 1990 was the date on which the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organizations highest decision making body, removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Since then the data has been celebrated internationally as the Day Against Homophobia.
It is one of ABGLT’s strategies that the Brazilian states and municipalities recognize the Day Against Homophobia through laws or decrees. The day already exists officially in 9 states: Amazonas, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná and Santa Catarina; and in at least 15 municipalities: Lauro de Freitas-BA, Alfenas-MG, Itaúna-MG,
Cuiabá-MT, Rondonópolis-MT, Picos-PI, Curitiba-PR, Francisco Beltrão-PR, Natal-RN, Mesquita-RJ, Rio Grande-RS, Florianópolis-SC, Joinville-SC, Campinas-SP and Ribeirão Preto-SP (www.abglt.org.br/port/leis_homofobia.php)