Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who once said he’d rather have a dead son than a gay one, warned gay tourists to stay away from his country because he did not want it to become a “gay tourism paradise.”
“If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life,” the anti-LGBTQ leader told journalists, according to Crusoé magazine.
“But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”
His warning was met with immediate backlash from Brazil’s LGBT community.
“This is not a head of state—this is a national disgrace,” said David Miranda, a gay lawmaker who replaced another gay congressman, Jean Wyllys, who fled the country amid death threats.
“He is staining the image of our country in every imaginable way,” Miranda added.
“I feel a duty to fight against this kind of speech to show that LGBT people exist in this country and that they will fight against this LGBT-phobic president. You can be certain that we will resist and we will resist in the streets.”
Wyllys released a video statement, saying Bolsonaro’s statements incited hatred against minorities, and that “Bolsonaro is simply being Bolsonaro.”
“We believe love will always win against hate and there is nothing that he can do to beat that,” said activist Julio Moreira, of Rio-based advocacy group Arco-Íris. “We will never ever return to the closet.”
On his first day in office, Bolsonaro signed executive orders limiting the rights of LGBTQ people, indigenous people, and the descendants of slaves.
Last month, he shared a video on Twitter of a man urinating on another man during a Carnival celebration in an attempt to paint all LGBTQ people in a bad light.
“I don’t feel comfortable showing this, but I need to expose the truth to the population so they can have knowledge and keep their priorities in mind. This is what many ’blocos’ (street carnivals) have become,” he wrote.
President Trump hosted Bolsonaro at the White House last month where he told reporters the two are closely aligned on their “efforts to ensure liberties in respect to traditional family lifestyles, respect to God our creator, against the gender ideology or the politically correct attitudes and against fake news.”