Brazil’s high court has ruled that homophobic hate speech is on par with racial hate speech and punishable with a prison sentence of two to five years. The Supreme Court’s 9-1 ruling stated it was a “constitutional imperative” for LGBTQ+ people in the country to have this protection.
France 24 explained that the court already ruled in 2019 that homophobia was a crime on par with racism, but that ruling applied to the overall LGBTQ+ community, rather than to speech directed at specific people. The most recent lawsuit was brought by ABGLT, a Brazilian LGBTQ+ rights group.
The injunction comes after the families of four trans kids sued the state for the right to make medical decisions for their kids.
Brazil’s current president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is a staunch supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, unlike his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who proudly proclaimed in 2013, “Yes, I am homophobic — and very proud of it.” Bolsonaro also said that he’d rather his son die in an accident than be gay and advocated that parents should beat the gayness out of their children.
Unsurprisingly, Da Silva’s victory was celebrated by the LGBTQ+ community. Earlier this year, he released a joint statement with U.S. President Joe Biden to emphasize support for LGBTQ+ rights.
“Both leaders noted they continue to reject extremism and violence in politics, condemned hate speech, and reaffirmed their intention to build societal resilience to disinformation and agreed to work together on these issues,” Da Silva and Biden’s joint statement said.
“They discussed common objectives of advancing the human rights agenda through cooperation and coordination on such issues as social inclusion and labor rights, gender equality, racial equity and justice, and the protection of the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”