(EDGE) Brazil's gay and lesbian couples, as well as mixed-gender pairs in which one member is trans, are in a rush to tie the knot before 2019 rings in an ominous new reign under President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro, a Trump-like and virulently homophobic authoritarian, the New York Times reports.
The NYT article notes that marriage equality has been the law of the land in Brazil for more than five years, but even so there's some expectation that Bolsonaro will attempt to roll back marriage rights for same-sex couples. The article recalled how Bolsonaro campaigned on a promise to uphold what he de3scribed as "the true meaning of matrimony as a union between man and woman."
That, in Bolsonaro's view, does not include transmen and transwomen marrying cisgender partners of the opposite sex.
The article quoted University of São Paulo's José Fernando Simão, an expert in civil rights and family law, who said that though Bolsonaro might attempt to strip access to legal marriage from gay and lesbian families, "the Constitution [of Brazil] will prevail" and marriage parity will ultimately be preserved.
Still, that's not a foregone conclusion. If anything, Bolsonaro may be even more of a strongman than Donald Trump — the New York Times reported in an article last fall that he expressed a desire to ditch democracy and go
But the two politicians, Bolsonaro and Trump, would seem to have more in common than not, including a talent for speaking directly to swaths of the population, especially the angry and the frightened.
Like Trump in the 2016 presidential campaigns, Bolsonaro seemed too much an extremist to make a likely prospect for the highest office in the land. He campaigned on themes of blame and division, extending his longstanding practice of excoriating women, racial minorities, and LGBTQ people, the Times reported. In response, homophobia seeped out of the woodwork; the Times quoted a lesbian woman who said that one other fans of her favorite soccer team started taking up chants about Bolsonaro "killing gay people," she became too afraid to continue attending the team's matches. But while fellow lawmaker Chico Alencar told the Times that Bolsonaro is obsessed with gays to the point of having no attention span left over for practical matters like infrastructure or urgent economic problems, the nation's evangelicals embraced him and his message of hatred toward sexual minorities.
When the election took place, Bolsonaro emerged the winner, not unlike the stunning upset that saw Donald Trump snatch the presidency in 2016 despite his violent campaign rhetoric and an October surprise in the form of a years-old recording in which Trump seemingly boasted about sexual exploits that many saw as predatory in nature — but that his supporters shrugged off as being mere "locker room talk."
In the wake of the 2016 elections, hate crimes in America targeting minorities spiked sharply, but LGBTQs — especially trans women of color — bore the brunt of newly-energized, and violent, would-be oppressors. Even as 2017 became the bloodiest year on record for trans murders, anti-LGBTQ religious groups and individuals began a full court press in the courts to elevate personal faith above equality before the law, with one case involving a baker who refused a wedding cake to a same-sex couple going all the way to the Supreme Court. Meantime, the Trump administration has gone about its work of erasing sexual minorities in ways large and small, including dropping them from the upcoming 2020 census, attempting to ban trans soldiers, and proposing a legal definition of gender that would effectively define trans people out of existence.
In Brazil, too, episodes of anti-LGBTQ brutality are rife, and have been for decades; and pre-election violence saw right-wing Bolsonaro supporters reportedly committing murder and attacks that include <link' target="new">https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45829440 the carving of a swastika into the skin of a young woman by a gang of men who evidently disliked that she was carrying a pride flag. At least one murder was also attributed to pro-Bolsonaro political violence.
But, at least for the moment, same-sex couples are finding support from their communities as they gird for the worst and say their "I do"s while they still can. The Times reports that wedding vendors of different sorts — including bakers who create wedding cakes — have stepped up to donate their services to same-sex families that may, before long, find themselves besieged by their own government.