A historic 9-1 decision by the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court ruled that homophobia is a crime punishable by jail time.
Justice Edson Fachin, the lead judge on the case, said that protecting LGBTQ+ Brazilians under the court of law was “a constitutional imperative.” Brazil is one of the deadliest countries in the world for trans people, with at least 1,741 killed in the last 14 years.
Dissenting judge Cristiano Zanin argued that recognizing homophobic slurs on the same foundation as a “crime of racial injury” is unnecessary, but he was ultimately overruled by his peers.
This decision builds off of a previous decision made in 2019, making crimes driven by homophobia and transphobia similar to racist crimes. The protections also extend to individuals with HIV, punishing discrimination of individuals with HIV for one to four years in prison.
Transgender lawmaker Erika Hilton celebrated the ruling by posting “Victory against LGBT-phobia” on social media.
“We need to celebrate, yes! It is a victory against LGBTPHOBIA,” said one social media poster while another added: “I lived to see such a decision. The movement continues.”
Meanwhile, a third said: “Important achievement, but a mark of how backward Brazil is The Supreme Court had to equate LGBTphobia with racial slurs/racism because Congress refuses to legislate on this topic. Brazilian law simply does not directly punish LBGTphobics!!”
One X user pointed out the difference between Brazil’s and America’s response to the LGBTQ+ community, stating, “America falls further and further behind much of the world’s society when we used to lead. Interesting how America is now trying to push anti-LGBT+ laws like in Florida and Brazil on the other hand, is doing this.”
The Brazilian LGBTQ+ community is hopeful that this decision with stop the deadly attacks against them and allow them to live authentically and safely.