Brazil’s Supreme Court rules homophobia is punishable by up to five years in jail
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Brazil has declared homophobia is now punishable with prison time.
In a nearly unanimous 9-1 ruling, homophobic slurs face similar legal ramifications as racist hate speech does in the county’s latest effort to protect LGBTQIA+ members.
Justice Edson Fachin, the lead judge on the case, said in his ruling that it was a ‘constitutional imperative’ to give LGBTQ+ citizens equal protection under the law.
Many on social media celebrated the landmark decision.
One said: “Good. People worry too damn much about what other people want to do. Let them be happy and love who they love, they're not hurting anyone.”
Another rejoiced: “The decision puts homophobic hate speech on the same legal level as racist hate speech, which was already punishable by prison in Brazil. May other countries take Brazil as a good example of how to provide equal protection under the law to all citizens.”
A third said: “Now don’t be shy, make that the case in every country in the world.”
Hate speech protections were already imposed in the country to protect HIV-positive individuals.
Those found guilty of discriminating against HIV-positive people can face one to four years in prison.
Brazil is known for having some of the most robust LGBTQ+ legal protections in the world.
In 2019, the country declared homophobia a crime just like racism.
But despite its sanctions, the country still faces a surging amount of violence against the LGBTQIA+ community.
Data from company Statistics reveals that 1,741 trans people have been murdered in the country between 2008 and 2022.
According to Transgender Europe (TGEU) 2021 report, which records global data collected by trans and LGBTQIA+ institutions, 70 per cent of all the murders in the LGBTQIA+ community have occurred in South and Central American countries, with 33 per cent being in Brazil.
In 2022 alone, the country saw 228 murders of queer people, according to Statistics.
Journalist and producer of trans content Helena Vieira said that despite the legal protections in place, trans murders specifically can't be ignored.
She added that the lack of police reports has enabled transphobia to run rampant in the country.
“We need to talk about genocide, because in Brazil the violence against trans people works like that, showing its numbers and, at the same time, hiding them as if it had a tacit agreement to silence about these deaths,” she said, as per Brasil De Fato.