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    June 29, 2007

    Voices from Brazil's Bermuda Triangle

    Posted by: Chris

    Jardins_protestMore than 200 people marched through a São Paulo neighborhood protesting violence against gays. The banner reads 'Homophobia Kills: We want a Brazil without homophobia.' (Photo courtesy of ClubWhirled)

    Kudos to my pal Kevin Ivers over at ClubWhirled for bringing international attention to the recent murder of two young men in the Jardins neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil, and the lackluster reaction from the local police and gay population.

    Johnclaytonbmp The unexplained violence, which many suspect is the work of neo-Nazi skinheads, has some gays calling the wealthy neighborhood a "Bermuda Triangle" of sorts. 

    The recent violence is by no means the first time, either. I wrote back in April 2006 for the Washington Blade Blog about another apparent gay-bashing in Jardins, when a group of swastika-toting skinheads stabbed a 22-year-old in the chest. The attacks this week were also stabbings.

    So Kevin was justifiably proud to participate in a protest held in the neighborhood two days ago calling for hate crime legislation, and posted about it here. Our mutual friend over at Made In Brazil also helped spread the word.

    I agree with Kevin that it's curious the protest organizers chose not to make specific mention of the two murders or pause at the sites where they occurred. But the important thing, as Kevin points out, is that they put some pressure on the police to take action and hopefully encouraged closeted gay residents to report attacks when they occur.  You'll can watch one short video taken by Kevin of the protest here; he posted a second as well over at ClubWhirled.

    With the help of Kevin and some very close Brazilian friends, Anderson and I plan to move to São Paulo in a few weeks. One of our reasons was the city's reputation as being safer than Rio. Obviously we'll be watching things closely there and look forward to helping Kevin spread the word internationally about anti-gay attacks in the area.

    Click here for a complete summary of gay news from Brazil, compiled by Gay News Watch.

    Click here for a complete summary on news about anti-gay hate crimes, compiled by Gay News Watch.



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    1. Gary P. on Jul 2, 2007 4:43:05 PM:

      Hi Chris,

      An avid follower of your blogs...Why the move?

      As a past Rio de Janeiro resident and annual traveler now, I am a bit confused to your closing remarks.... Your move to Sao Paulo was partially for better safety than Rio's.... By following the recent news and blogs...it seems that SP has higher hate crimes and general crime that out-numbers that of Rio's. RJ, by being the focal point of tourism in Brazil, the government does more (not to have bad publicity) to curb violence ( offensively) than has been done in any other Brazilian city. Case in point, the July Pan American games in Rio..getting the violent rooted out of the favelas....

      Interested in your thoughts..........

      Gary P.

    1. Citizen Crain on Jul 3, 2007 11:12:50 AM:

      The recent incidents in Jardins are very troubling, Gary, but I still think São Paulo is much safer than Rio. The news here in Rio is filled daily with shootouts between the police and the drug gangs, and just since February 1,242 people have been killed and another 789 injured in violence, according to the site RioBodyCount.com.br.

      The favelas in Sampa are much further from the nicer neighborhoods; we have one three blocks away from our home here in Ipanema. And since gringos are less common in São Paulo, we are less a focus for crime. Paulistanos feel comfortable wearing nice watches and using cell phones and iPods in public. Many Cariocas won't.

      There has been a police crackdown here in Rio in advance of the Pan Am games, but the police in Rio are a big part of the problem. They are much more corrupt here than in São Paulo, and the semi-lawlessness takes something of an emotional toll on everyone.

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