In Brazil, a homosexual is killed every 36 hours

Study shows the country has world’s highest rate of homophobic murders

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato for April 6, 2011. See original here.]

By Daniella Jinkings

In 2010, 260 gay men, transvestites and lesbians were murdered in Brazil. According to a report by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) released on Monday, every day and a half a Brazilian homosexual is killed. In the past five years, there has been an increase of 113 percent in the number of murders of homosexuals. In the first three months of 2011 alone, there were 65 murders.

Among the victims, 54 percent were gay men, 42 percent were transvestites and four percent were lesbians. Luiz Mott, the anthropologist responsible for the survey, believes the statistics are smaller than the reality. “Those 260 documented murders are an underreported number, because there are no official hate crime statistics in Brazil. The situation for homosexuals is extremely troubling.”

The study also indicates that Brazil is the world leader in the murders of homosexuals. In the United States, 14 murders of transvestites were reported in 2010, while in Brazil there were 110 murders. Furthermore, the risk of a homosexual being killed violently in Brazil is 785 percent greater than in the United States.

According to Mott, the increase is the result of an increase of violence and impunity. “There is an overall increase in murders. Besides that, fewer than ten percent of the murderers are sentenced and imprisoned. Currently, the visibility of gays is greater, since many are coming out and that provokes an increase of intolerance.”

Among Brazilian states, Bahia leads in the national ranking for the second consecutive year. There were 29 murders in 2010. Alagoas occupies second place with 24 deaths followed by Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo with 23 murders each. According to the report, Alagoas is also the state presenting the greatest risk for homosexuals. Maceió is the city where the greatest number of gays are murdered – with fewer than one million inhabitants, the city registered nine homicides.

According to the study, the northeast is the most homophobic region of the country. The northeast holds 30 percent of the Brazilian population and registered 43 percent of the murders of homosexuals. Twenty-seven percent of the murders occurred in the southeast, nine percent in the south, ten percent in the west and ten percent in the north. The risk of a homosexual in the northeast being murdered is approximately 80 percent higher than in the south or the southeast.

According to Mott, this situation could be reversed with sex education in the schools, better law enforcement by the police and the judiciary, affirmative policies guaranteeing full citizenship for this ten percent of the population and more caution on the part of gay men, transvestites and lesbians themselves…

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