A surveillance camera just captured the brutal execution-style murder of Priscila, a 22-year old travesti (a trans feminine identity) in Brazil. Less than twenty hours later another travesti was shot in the same city, and the following week another was murdered in Sao Paolo, her body dumped in an abandoned lot.
With the highest rate of transphobic violence in the world and an explosion of LGBT murders - over 250 last year - the climate for LGBT people in Brazil has grown increasingly deadly. As this brutal violence spreads, LGBT people are literally dying in the streets.
Right now, leaders in the Brazilian Senate are pushing an ambitious anti-homophobia law that would punish hate crimes and put more pressure on local police to protect LGBT people. But because of tremendous opposition from social conservatives, President Dilma Rousseff is staying silent as this critical bill stalls in Parliament.
If thousands of us take a moment to honor Priscila’s life and stand against hate, we can push President Dilma to do the right thing and protect people like Priscila. Will you take a moment to sign our urgent letter to the Brazilian President asking her to declare her immediate support for this life-saving measure? It only takes a moment and could make a huge difference:
The battle against homophobia and transphobia in Brazil is not just being played out in the legislature, it’s playing out on Brazil’s social networks as well, a backlash against gains made by the LGBT equality movement in Brazil. Last fall “Homophobia Yes!” became a popular trending topic on Twitter in the country, with a torrent of hateful messages such as: “Homos are the cancer of this country,” and “kill a pervert, let’s do them a favor since they’re going to burn anyway.”
When this violent rhetoric spills out on the streets, such as the tragic murder of Priscila, the press is often quick to blame the victims, especially trans women, painting them as victims of an underground lifestyle associated with drugs and prostitution. But the real problem is a culture and a legal system that signals that it is okay to attack and even murder LGBT people—and get away with it. Just this weekend there were two more brutal killings—a trans woman shot in Sao Paolo, and a gay man murdered, and his eyes ripped out, in an apparent hate crime in the north of the country.
This law won’t erase homophobia on its own, but it will send a powerful message that LGBT Brazilians are equal in the eyes of the law, deserving of the same rights and protection from targeted violence as anyone else.
Will you sign this letter to President Dilma, asking her to make a public push for the urgent passage of this desperately needed measure in the coming days? If we reach 10,000 signatures, we’ll join with a group of Brazil’s strongest LGBT advocates to deliver your message directly to the President.
“This was a cruel assassination, we can’t let this keep happening,” Anyky Gonçalves de Lima, an activist with the Center for Freedom of Sexual Orientation in Belo Horizonte, told us. Anyky remembers Priscila as funloving, with a sense of humor. “If we don’t fight this, the girls will keep dying.”
Sign now, for Priscila, and for all Brazilians fighting for the right to live, without hate.
The news about the trans girl who was murdered here really shocked me. You know what disgusts me so much? People really don’t do absolutely anything about it. I’ve only knew about the murder because I have the habit of reading the newspaper while having a snack in the middle of the afternoon, when I’m home. And that’s pretty much it. I haven’t heard any other news about this girl’s murder anywhere else, except from LGBT groups that try to bring this issue to the public’s eyes. Unfortunately they do not succeed very often. Homophobia isn’t even considered a crime in Brazil (I don’t even need to talk about transphobia, do I?). They have identified all of the 3 suspects in the case (being that one of them is accused of 5 other murders) but the police haven’t caught any of them. And honestly? I don’t think they will. They do not care.
I live just 4-5 blocks away of where Priscila was murdered. I’ve seen trans women and tranvestites prostituting themselves during the night in big avenues around my city since I was little. They’ve always caught my attention. I couldn’t really understand why transvestites and trans women were = prostitution + drug dealing. I had to grow up to understand how stupid, bigoted and transphobic Brazilian society is. Trans people have absolutely no support from the government, from society or even from their families, so they end up in the streets doing what’s possible to survive. They do not have choices. And when something like this murder happens, they’re blamed for their fucked-up lifestyle.
I am sick of all this. We really NEED to change. We have to pressure the Brazilian government. And I ask for everyone out there to, please, sign this petition, even if you’re not Brazilian. I hope the Brazilian government gets really pressured by international groups, adding support to the National groups. Just to add: Brazil has just signed this past tuesday (March 22nd) the Statement entitled “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Ironic, isn’t it? since the government isn’t really taking actions to end all this LGBT phobia down here.