by Eugenia Tovar, Misiones, Argentina.

by Eugenia Tovar, Misiones, Argentina.

Violence in Latin America: How the LGBTI collective is still being attacked?

03 May, 2019

by Eugenia Tovar, Misiones, Argentina.

Violence against the LGBTI community has intensified more and more over the last couple of years in places like Latin America. This has happened because of the progress of religious groups and conservative governments that have -slowly but surely- be returning to power throughout these nations.

A report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) pointed out that between 2013 and 2014 there were 770 acts of violence against LGBTI people, and that 594 were murdered.

In 2016 there were at least two massacres in gay bars in the city of Xalpa (Mexico) were five people were killed, simply because they were in a pro LGBTI bar.

In addition, in 2017, 340 LGBTI people were murdered in Brazil, 11 in El Salvador, seven in Honduras, two in Chile, three in Colombia and two in Jamaica.

If we look at the region as a whole, violence against the LGBT population is a serious problem in Latin America, although there are countries that have had a giant advance such as Argentina or Uruguay, there are others that have worsened like Venezuela and Brazil.

Another terrifying aspect of this situation is that he dangerous thing about this increase in violence is that there are no official statistics because the states do not want to make this problem visible, as if this violence has never existed. If you never tell it then you will never need to address the roots of the problem in the first place, and that is how the society has been made to believe that a) that LGTBI people don’t have rights, b) that it is normal to discriminate any individual based on their sexuality or ways of looking at oneself, and c) that this is not stopping any time soon.

The situation in Brazil

In recent years in Brazil, there has been a very dangerous change, of course, promoted by President Jair Bolsonaro and the neo-Pentecostal evangelical churches.

The current president is the most perfect political representative of hatred against minorities. He is a macho, homophobic, racist, xenophobic who uses hatred as the basis of all his political action.

For example, Jair Bolsonaro recently stated: "We can not let Brazil be a paradise for gay tourism, if you want to have sex with a woman, go ahead". Jair Bolsonaro generated a new polemic in Brazil by saying that his country should not become a paradise for gay tourism. "But we can not let this place be known as a paradise for gay tourism, we have families," he added.

The sayings of Bolsonaro generated a strong repercussion and were condemned by activists of the LGTB community.

This is not the first time that Jair Bolsonaro, former captain of the Brazilian Army, makes this kind of comment. A few months ago he went on to say that he is "homophobic and proud to be so".

These types of sayings were also condemned outside the country. In early April, the American Museum of Natural History in New York cancelled an event to honour Bolsonaro. The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, backed the campaign and described the head of state as "a very dangerous human being."

It can be said that as long as politicians and public figures continue to promote this type of talk and hate, then society will never follow suit and change its ways.