Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has stayed true to his word and signed executive orders targeting the LGBTI community.
The ‘proud homophobe’ used his first day in office to sign the orders. They will affect the LGBTI community, indigenous groups and descendants of slaves.
Just hours after his inauguration Bolsonaro removed LGBTI issues from consideration at the new human rights ministry, according to the Associated Press. He did not name another agency tasked to handle LGBTI issues.
The new human rights minister and former evangelical pastor, Damares Alves, has previously said ‘the Brazilian family is being threatened’ by inclusive policies.
‘The state is lay, but this minister is terribly Christian,’ she said in her first address as minister.
‘Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes. There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.’
Bolsonaro’s actions against the LGBTI community and other minorities come as no surprise.
He has previously said he would rather have a ‘dead son rather than a gay son’. He also said parents should beat their children back to being ‘normal’ if they suspected them of being gay.
Brazil has seen a spate of same-sex weddings in recent weeks, as same-sex couples rushed to marry before Bolsonaro took office.
Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, many LGBTI people worried Bolsonaro might begin rescinding LGBTI rights during his presidency.
LGBT activist Symmy Larrat told AP said she is not hopeful the Bolsonaro government will treat the community fairly.
‘The human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called secretariat of promotion and defense of human rights,’ she said.
‘That body just disappeared, just like that. We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues.’
But Bolsonaro has friends in powerful places.
US President Donald Trump and the US’ United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley both tweeted their congratulation to Bolsonaro after his inauguration.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Trump was ‘very pleased with the relationship that our two countries are on the precipice of beginning to develop’.
‘He’s also confident that it (the relationship between the two countries) will benefit the world and the set of shared values that we believe we can together advance,’ he said.