LGBTQ+ rights in Brazil reached a major victory. On Tuesday (Aug. 22), the country’s Supreme Court made an important ruling concerning the protection of queer communities.
Brazil first made some headway in terms of LGBTQ+ rights in 2019. The Supreme Federal Court (STF) previously ruled that hate speech was a crime that was equivalent to racism. As the Pink News noted, the general ruling included protections for the LGBTQ+ community overall, but it didn’t pertain to individual attacks on people.
The Supreme Federal Court met this week to make an important decision, specifically on homophobic hate speech. In a 9-1 ruling, the judges decided that homophobia is a crime in Brazil. Homophobic hate speech is now an equally punishable offense as racist hate speech. People found guilty of hate speech can be fined and face two to five years in prison.
Justice Edson Fachin, the lead judge on the case, called the LGBTQ+ protections under the ruling a “constitutional imperative.” On the other hand, Minister Cristiano Zanin was the one dissenting voice in the ruling. He was against the idea of considering homophobia to be on par with a “crime of racial injury” because of previous legal precedent on the matter.
People across social media celebrated the news of Brazil’s increased protections for LGBTQ+ citizens. The first two openly transgender people elected to the National Congress of Brazil last year were among the first to react. On Twitter, Brazilian lawmaker Erika Hilton wrote, “VICTORY against LGBTPHOBIA!”
Hilton’s fellow Brazilian politician Duda Salabert called the ruling an “important victory.” She added, “The STF formed a majority to recognize homophobic and transphobic offenses as racial slurs. One more victory against the structural prejudice that exists in society.”