Fri, Dec 14, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Gay men claim soccer as their own in unsafe Brazil

Thomson Reuters Foundation, MEXICO CITY

However, following the election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to Brazil’s presidency, the players fear that their newfound comfort might not last.

Bolsonaro is well-known for his openly homophobic rhetoric, telling Playboy magazine in 2011 that he “would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.”

“I would prefer my son died in an accident” than bring home a male partner, the now president-elect added.

Some of the Futeboys players worry that Bolsonaro’s anti-gay messaging is likely to intensify the growing attacks against LGBT people in Brazil and could result in a backtrack on gay rights.

A few weeks before the election, a video circulated online showing fans of the professional Atletico Mineiro soccer team chanting: “Bolsonaro will kill all queers.”

“It’s super alarming,” Silvares said of Bolsonaro’s election. “We’re worried about losing rights, losing visibility. We’ve achieved so much, we’ve had so many advances, and now there’s this fear of having some kind of setback after that election.”

“Brazil is already a very challenging country for LGBT people,” said Leandro Ramos, the director of programs at All Out, an international LGBT advocacy group. “It’s a bit of a powder keg, and this campaign lit a match to it and made it explode.”

Still, Silvares and Villas Boas were hopeful that, just by being part of an openly gay soccer team, they can fight back against homophobia in sports and politics alike.

“We are claiming a space,” Silvares said. “We’re showing that we are here, that we are proud of being gay, and that we won’t be ashamed to show it.”

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