When the proudly homophobic President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January, LGBT community members were worried their rights would be taken away. Two months later, watchdog groups are saying suicide among LGBT people has skyrocketed as a result.
There are no official figures, according to Grupo Gay da Bahia, the Brazilian watchdog group, but after scanning social media and obituaries, the death rate by suicide is much more prominent. LGBT Brazilians confirm it got much harder after Bolsonaro was elected.
“There’s a lot of suicidal thinking,” Pedro Paulo Bicalho, an adviser at Brazil’s Federal Council for Psychology (CFP), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Not just the final suicide, the loss of life, but mainly the ideation, the desire to take one’s life, to kill oneself because of the way our own society sees the (LGBT+) population.”
According to Grupo Gay da Bahia, about 100 gay and transgender people took their lives in Brazil last year, almost four times the suicide rate in 2016.