A Judge in Brazil Approves ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’

By Sabrina Samone

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TMP Brazil iReporter Sammy Sarvaris

Yearly, on November 20th, trans people across the globe gather to read the names of fallen sisters and brothers. We honor their lives by speaking their names, and refusing to let the world forget the transphobic hate that took their lives. The names are from all walks of life, and nearly every country, but trans women of color and particularly those in Brazil leaves our community gasping at the number and degree of violence trans people face in Brazil.

According to Gay Group Bahia¹, over 275 lgbt persons have been murdered in one year in Brazil. The stats shows that over 200 gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people have been murdered between January 1 and September this year. The group’s study, which estimated the number using police records and news reports in the region, found that 43 percent of the times took place in the North East. 35% of victims were trans people, while 59% of those were gay, and 4% were lesbians. Though homosexuality is not a crime in Brazil, it is notorious for having one of the highest murder rates for LGBT people – and transgender people in particular – in the world

Each year, and in particularly on Transgender Day of Remembrance², we listen to the growing names of transgender people being murdered in Brazil. It is this very reason, with the growing murder rate, the latest action of a judge in Brazil has become exceptionally troubling. In a country already beyond an epidemic of homophobia and transphobia, a judge has approved conversion therapy of gay people.

Actions like these give a license for even swifter, uglier forms of hate, and considering this is Brazil, that is beyond alarming.

Waldemar de Carvalho, a federal judge in the capital of Brasília, overruled a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that forbade psychologists from offering widely discredited treatments which claims to “cure” gay people.

Coming a week after a bank cancelled an exhibition of gay art after protests from rightwing and evangelical Christian groups, the ruling has raised fears that progressive policies could be overturned.

Brazil has a growing population of evangelical Christians who have protested vociferously at plotlines in television soap operas featuring gay or transgender characters, and increasingly ally themselves with burgeoning rightwing groups.

This decision is a big regression to the progressive conquests that the LBGT community had in recent decades,” David Miranda, a leftist councillor in Rio de Janeiro and one of the country’s few openly gay politicians, told the Guardian. “Like various countries in the world, Brazil is suffering a conservative wave.”

Ivete Sangolo, one of Brazil’s most celebrated singers, wrote:

“The sick ones are those who believe in this grand absurdity,”in an Instagram post commenting on the ruling.

Judge de Carvalho ruled in favor of an action brought by Rozangela Justino, an evangelical Christian and psychologist whose license was revoked in 2016 after she offered “conversion therapy”.

In a 2009 interview with the Folha de S Paulo newspaper, Justino said she saw homosexuality as a “disease”, advised patients to seek religious guidance and said: “I feel directed by God to help people who are homosexual.”

The Federal Council of Psychology said in a statement that the decision “opens the dangerous possibility of the use of sexual reversion therapies” and promised to contest it legally.

Council president Rogério Giannini, a psychologist based in São Paulo, said its 1999 decision prohibiting “sexual conversion” therapy had already faced off other legal actions and even a proposed bill in Congress.

“We have no power over research,” Giannini said in a Guardian interview. “The way it was put by the judge gave the impression that we prohibited research which is not true.”

As hashtags like #curagay (“gay cure”)³ trended in Brazil, Twitter users used memes and GIFs to ridicule the decision.

“They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no,” tweeted one Brazilian using the name Ubiratan.

Blasphemy is using the word of God to justify one’s hate or own personal sins. Those actions have consequences, and unfortunately our trans sisters and brothers who are often the easiest known targets of LGBT hate may face a heavier toll than we could ever imagine if such legislation continues to go unnoticed and rivaled by the world’s LGBT communities.


  1. Groupo Gay Da Bahia, LGBT rights organization in Brazil similar to the HRC in America.
  2. TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
  3. Trending hashtag on twitter in response to Brazilian Judges decision

 

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Two Teens Admit to Targeting Trans Activist in a Recent Attack in Texas

A second suspect in an attack on a transgender woman last week admitted to Austin police that he targeted the victim because of her gender identity, according to court papers filed Monday.

Rayshad Deloach, 17, and his brother, Raymond, have both been accused of carjacking and mugging Stephanie Martinez¹, an Austin transgender activist.

“Rayshad admitted that he attacked Martinez because she was transgender,” police officers wrote in his arrest affidavit.

In his statement to the police, Rayshad Deloach confirmed the details of the Thursday afternoon attack that Martinez relayed to the police, including punching her several times in the face and picking up a log as if to use it to bash her head.

Just a day after the attack, Martinez testified before state lawmakers at the Capitol as they debated the so-called bathroom bills², laws that would restrict local governments and school districts from implementing transgender-friendly bathroom policies.

The measure is one of the most contentious being debated during the Legislature’s special session.

“This bill is not about safety, this bill is not about bathrooms,” Martinez told a committee of state senators, which backed the legislation after hours of testimony that went largely against the measure. “This bill is about limiting my ability to navigate public life.”

Following North Carolina’s lead, Texas Republicans in January unveiled the so-called “bathroom bill” to regulate bathroom use and keep transgender Texans from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 6, one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s legislative priorities, would have required transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on “biological sex.” The measure would also pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

The ripple effects of such hate inspired legislation, has made the lives of many trans people in the state less safe³. When a politician tells his constituents, that the lives of trans people are debatable, and legally ok to be ridiculed, attacks like these happen. Rayshad, and Raymond Deloach should be charged with a hate crime, but they are not the only ones. The state Republicans, pushing these hate bills, are also responsible for this, and every attack, on every trans person in the state of Texas.

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  1. Stephanie Martinez, is an activist with the Transgender Education Network of Texas. She was able to attend the senate hearing on anti-transgender legislation Friday and speak out against SB3 ad SB99. She listens to he Human Rights Campaign, Equality Texas, the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Freedom Network and the Transgender Education Network of Texas gather in the outdoor rotunda of the Texas Capitol extension Friday afternoon to propose anti-transgender legislation bills SB 3 and SB99 at the Texas Capitol July 21, 2017.
  2. Senate Bill 3, a so-called “bathroom bill,” would regulate public school facilities, open-enrollment charter school facilities, and local government restrooms to be “used only by persons of the same sex as stated on a person’s birth certificate.” It will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
  3. “A Matter of Life and Death” brings to light the stories of the at least 21 trans people who have been murdered since the beginning of this year, and it estimates there have been at least 74 murders of transgender people since 2013.
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Actor James Wood’s Transphobic Tweets about a Child

Earlier in James Wood’s acting career, he had no issue taking on gay characters, yet remains homophobic and transphobic.  He has not wavered from speaking of his support for Trump, or his support for the countless anti trans bathroom laws across the country. Yet, his countless bigoted remarks hit a new low yesterday, as he attacked a gender non-conforming child in his latest tweets. Woods bluntly suggested that the child would grow up to be a serial killer in his deeply transphobic 140-character rejoinder.

Actor James Woods in ‘Once Upon A Time in America’

Woods, who is 70 years old, shared a photo of a couple with their son at the Orange County Pride Parade in California. The couple of 13 years, was there to support their child, and was bearing posters that read, “I love my gender creative son!” and “My son wears dresses & makeup… Get over it!!”

 

Seeing this, the Once Upon a Time in America¹ actor wrote, “This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage.”

That tweet follows nearly  two years to the day, after James Woods tweeted out a link to a public service announcement he appeared in to bring attention to the plight of homeless LGBT youth², the double Oscar nominee tweeted a transphobic response to a photo of parents supporting their gender-nonconforming child.

Woods bigotry, and his rightwing conservative views has become increasingly more homophobic and xenophobic on Twitter over the past few years, taking aim at the likes of Black Lives Matter, Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour, Lena Dunham, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. A tweet about Anderson Cooper this May particularly put the once-prominent actor back in the spotlight for a moment. When Cooper famously rolled his eyes at Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s dissembling about FBI director James Comey’s firing, Woods responded to the eye-roll that went viral with a nasty little gay joke.

Woods has received a flood of backlash on Twitter, as well as criticism from gay actor, Neil Patrick Harris, who responded with a tweet of his own. “Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods,” the Gone Girl actor, 44, wrote. “I’m friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself.”

The mother of the family in the photo, Lori Duron³, blogged about their son’s recent experiences at Pride in a post titled, “My Gender Creative Son’s First Pride.

My sweet, fabulous, rainbow boy has never received so many compliments,” Duron wrote. “He’s used to getting stares and whispers when we’re out in public. He’s not used to getting the smiles, hugs and encouragement he received at Pride.”

 

 

 

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  1.  Once Upon a Time in America, is a revised version of the same 1984 film, directed by Sergio Leone, and starring Robert DeNiro and James Woods.
  2. Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers, by the Center for American Progress
  3. Lori Duron, proud parent of gender non-conforming child’s Blog.
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