Brazil’s New Far-Right President Launches Assault On LGBT Community Hours After Inauguration

Hours after taking office, Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, launched an assault on Brazil’s indigenous groups, descendants of slaves and the LGBT community with an executive order.

One of the orders issued late Tuesday hours after his inauguration, removed the concerns of the LGBT community from consideration by the new human rights ministry.

Canada’s CTV News reports:

Bolsonaro did not name any alternative agency to consider such things. He has strongly criticized what he calls “gender-based ideology”, saying it is a threat to Brazil’s Christian values.

Damares Alves, the new human rights minister, did not discuss the LGBT order in her first address on the job, but the evangelical pastor has insisted over the years that “the Brazilian family is being threatened” by diversity policies.

“The state is lay, but this minister is terribly Christian,” Alves said Wednesday.

LGBT activist Symmy Larrat said she doesn’t’ expect reasonable treatment from the Bolsonaro administration.

“The human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called secretariat of promotion and defence of human rights. That body just disappeared, just like that. We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues,” she said.

The newspaper Folha de S Paulo reported that Bolsonaro will soon announce the closing of an agency within the Education Ministry that has focused on promoting diversity in public schools and universities.

CTV News noted that the new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo indirectly criticized the LGBT community as being “those that say they are not men and women.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the right-wing world leaders who attended his inauguration in Brasilia, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The Conversation notes:

Bolsonaro used a Trump-style populist playbook to win the Brazilian presidency in October with 54 percent of the vote. Spreading angry anti-establishment messages, he persuaded enough disaffected working-class voters to create a victorious if unusual electoral coalition of the working class and the very rich.

Unlike in the United States, however, where Trump targeted rural Americans left behind by economic progress, Bolsonaro’s working-class supporters mostly come from Brazilian cities – particularly the poor urban outskirts.

The Brazilian Press Association on Wednesday denounced the restrictions placed on journalists at Bolsonaro’s inauguration.

The AP reports: “Reporters had to arrive seven hours before the events began and were forbidden to move freely in Congress and the presidential palace. Food was seized and access to bathrooms and water was limited.”

“What was seen in different scenarios of Brasilia is incompatible with a democratic regime,” the association said in a statement. “Respect to the press is one of the main indicators of nations that consider themselves civilized.”