LGBTI+ Parade occupies Rio’s Copacabana beachfront
Pride-goers called for equality, representation, and respect
Published on 20/11/2023 - 11:01 By Bruno de Freitas Moura - Rio de Janeiro
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The colors of the rainbow tinted the Copacabana beachfront on Sunday (Nov. 19) at the 28th edition of Rio’s LGBTI+ Parade, Brazil’s oldest. In addition to celebrating diversity, organizers and participants called for action against the setbacks that threaten the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, and intersex people, with the slogan “Love, citizenship and the LGBTI+ struggle will never back down.”
One of the setbacks mentioned is a bill currently in Congress banning same-sex marriage, a right guaranteed by the Supreme Court since 2011.
Represenatative Dani Balbi, the first transsexual in the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro state, advocated greater participation by LGBTI+ people in politics.
“If the LGTBI+ segment is not occupying municipal, state, and federal parliaments, there is a deficit of representation. It’s very important that we increasingly occupy this space in order to materialize public policies to seek a more equitable society,” she declared. “We’re still dying in large numbers, many of our rights are violated, and we face difficulties in the job market as well as in education,” she pointed out.
In Brazil, according to the first official survey by the national statistics bureau IBGE, there are at least 2.9 million people aged 18 and over who declare themselves to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Official surveys on the rest of the LGBTQIAP+ population have yet to be carried out.
In the opinion of Cláudio Nascimento, head of Grupo Arco-Íris and general coordinator of the march, the event proves it is possible to “fight with war, but also with joy and celebration. We can celebrate with our fists raised. We have our own dynamic as a social movement.”
The organizers and supporters also noted that the event’s agenda is not an exclusive struggle for the LGBTI+ community. “You don’t have to be LGBTI+ to defend LGBTI+ rights,” said Carlos Tufvesson, executive coordinator for Sexual Diversity at Rio’s City Hall. “I don’t need to be black to be against racism,” he argued.
As well as celebrating diversity and standing up against dicrimination and setbacks, the event is a space for people to take care of their health.
The city set up a stand to offer vaccination, testing for syphilis and hepatitis, and information on PrEP and PEP. Fiocruz also provided support. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a preventive method that consists of the daily use of an antiretroviral pill by people who are not living with HIV, but are exposed to the infection. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency preventive measure that treats individuals who have been exposed to the virus.
The traditional parade on the Copacabana beachfront is the third event that attracts the most tourists to Rio de Janeiro, behind Carnival and New Year’s Eve.
“It brings in money for the hotel owner, street vendors, and Uber drivers. It’s a democratic chain. We’re boosting the economy,” said Marcelo Freixo, head of the country’s tourism authority Embratur, which backed the march this year.
“The parade is not something that ends in one day. It’s a civilizing process. We want the world to visit a Brazil that isn’t racist or sexist, where trans people aren’t murdered. That’s the country we’re building,” he said.
Translation: Fabrício Ferreira - Edition: Carolina Pimentel