Brazil, like other Latin American countries, is multifaceted when it comes to LGBT+ rights. As a country bursting with art and culture it provides unique opportunities to showcase queer identity through art and celebrate the pride of the community. São Paulo hosts the largest gay pride parade in the world, and the Ipanema neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro is known for being a popular gay destination.
Rio de Janeiro
On March 14th, 2018, one of Brazil’s strongest voices in the fight for equal rights was assassinated in her car along with her driver on the way home from an event to empower young black women in Rio de Janeiro. Marielle Franco had just been elected the city councilor of Rio de Janeiro 18 months prior to her death. At 38 years old, Franco was the only black female representative on the 51-member council, and one of seven women (The New York Times, 2018).
This October, the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (BFPS) reported that in Brazil, one person is killed every nine minutes, for an average of 160 violent deaths a day, in what is considered one of the world’s most violent countries.
Having only been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for one week, I cannot tell you very much about life here except for what I’ve observed in my short amount of time. If there’s one thing that is clear, it’s that the people of Rio want you to know that favelas aren’t dangerous. Favelas, which can only best be described as shantytowns built on the hills and mountains of the city, are also known as “comunidades,” or communities, among the more politically correct.
As part of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic bid, the olympic committee made a couple of large promises, one of them the clean up of Guanabara Bay in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The Guanabara Bay will be one of the main features of the opening ceremony and will hold competitions for all sailing and rowing events. City officials promised to reduce waste and pollution in the bay by 80% but little progress has been made.1 If you ask any resident of Rio de Janeiro if the bay is fit for competition, or even display, they would confidently say no.
In Brazil, March 15th marks the end of the dictatorial era of Brazil, but this past March 15th marked a different and equally as important date in history; this year millions of protesters took to the streets throughout Brazil to protest the current president, Dilma Rousseff. Dilma, and her Worker’s Party colleagues, have been in the midst of a national scandal since the end of 2014.
The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games are making history in a number of ways. They will be the first Olympic Games hosted on the South American continent. Second, they have shown the worst preparation for the games in Olympic history. This chaos has played a large factor in neglecting the Legacy Projects that were promised as part of the 2016 Olympic Games.
In less than a year, Brazil will be hosting their second major sporting event within a span of two years; the first being the FIFA World Cup in 2014, the second the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. While the former certainly did not come and go without its own political and social issues, the latter is stirring controversy of its own.
In the month of March, millions of Brazilians took to the street to protest the current president, Dilma Rousseff, and her political party, the Workers Party (PT). Last year, when the Lava-Jato scandal broke out, many politicians in her current cabinet were investigated and charged with money laundering. While Dilma was never formally indicted on any charges of involvement in the massive money laundering scheme, she was, nevertheless, put on trial for impeachment.