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ILGA Team in Geneva

in BRAZIL, 04/04/2004

Beto de Jesus

Beto de Jesus, 41, educator, is one of the founders of the LGBT Pride Parade in São Paulo, and was its Coordinator from 1999 to 2002. Presently he is the General Secretary of the Instituto Edson Neris(1) in São Paulo, and Director for the Southeast Region of the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians and Transgenders – ABGLT.

Brazil, a country of great contradictions

Brazil lives very contradictory situations regarding LGBT issues. We have today in São Paulo one of the biggest Gay Pride Parades in the world, with over one million participants, but we still don’t have laws that guarantee basic rights for LGBT citizens. We have a Parliamentary Front for the Free Sexual Expression comprising almost 80 representatives and senators, but we cannot pass federal laws due to the intolerance of religious representatives (catholics and evangelicals). Our Civil Partnership Bill has been in the Congress since 1996, in spite of the efforts of Brazilian LGBT groups – over 200 in the country. We have a lot of institutional violence and homophobic crimes. Transvestites have restricted access to public schools and the labor market. However, there are no laws that criminalize homosexuality.

Our hope: Brazil without Homophobia Program

My institution – Instituto Edson Neris –, since the consultation on the UN Brazilian Resolution in Rio de Janeiro in December 2003, has been working with LGBT and human rights groups to influence the Brazilian government and to publicize the Resolution in the media. We develop workshops and training programs for legal workers, and for pedagogical coordinators and teachers of public schools in São Paulo, introducing them to the debate of sexual orientation and gender identity. In May 2004, as a result of the work of many LGBT groups and particularly ABGLT, we will launch the Brazil without Homophobia Program, which was designed jointly by the federal government’s Special Secretariat for Human Rights and several Ministries (Culture, Justice, Foreign Relations, Labor, Health, Sports), as well as the Special Secretariats for Women and for the Promotion of Racial Equality Policies. This Program is focused on the defense of rights of the LGBT community and will certainly be crucial to the efforts to pass the UN Brazilian Resolution on Human Rights and Sexual Orientation in 2005.

Representantive of the Brazilian UN Mission is sensitive to the gender identity debate

Our contacts with the Brazilian Mission in Geneva were very productive and signaled a deepening of the debate on gender identity. This issue should be included in the body of the Resolution in 2005. Minister Antonio Pedro has requested additional information on the situation of transgenders, and the Instituto Edson Neris will be responsible for organizing the collection of data. Besides a personal contact with the Brazilian Mission representative, I also met delegations from ILGA and other international organizations.

(1) Edson Neris da Silva, a gay man killed on February 6, 2000 by kicks and blows perpetrated by a group of thirty skinheads in downtown São Paulo because he and his boyfriend were holding hands.

Translation : Carlos Hugo Suarez Sampaio
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