The world was shocked earlier this year when a video went viral of Dandara dos Santos, a trans woman from the state of Ceará in the Northeast of Brazil, being tortured and eventually killed in the state’s capital of Fortaleza. Many international news sources picked up the story, appalled at the sheer disregard for life displayed in the horrific video. To many Brazilians, however, the video was not surprising. For many years, Brazil has held the world record for hate-based LGBT murders with 331 recorded in 2016 resulting in the statistic of an LGBT person being killed roughly every 25 hours.
On the other hand, Brazil is also a beacon and model for the world in its fight for LGBT rights. The annual Pride Parade in São Paulo grows every year keeping hold to its first place ranking based on number of attendants; this year organizers boasted crossing the 3 million mark. Rio’s annual Carnival celebration is often openly queer and attracts LGBT tourists from around the world. Furthermore, the Brazilian government was one of the first countries to work with LGBT rights organizations to offer free medical care to people living with HIV/AIDS, gaining the country international acclaim and decreasing the number of people living with HIV/AIDS to below the level of the United States. It is also a leader in manufacturing cheap antiretroviral drugs, also resulting in a higher level of people taking these medications as compared to the United States. Read more via Rio on Watch