Proponents of a straight pride parade say that it is needed to shore up Brazil's eroding 'morals.' But critics call it a homophobic distraction from the serious problems that afflict the city.
São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil already has some of the world’s biggest and most vibrant gay groups, with millions of people taking to the streets all across this South American nation to celebrate their sexual identity in gay pride marches.
Now, in a move blasted as discriminatory by some and farcical by others, councilors in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo have voted to introduce a rival "Heterosexual Pride Day."
The man behind the move, Carlos Apolinário of the right-wing Democrats Party, said he didn’t want a parade to celebrate heterosexuality on the third Sunday of December, the day chosen to mark the occasion. He did, however, feel compelled to make a symbolic move to shore up Brazil’s eroding “morals."
Mr. Apolinário, who has the support of Brazil’s powerful Protestant church lobby, said, “The creation of Heterosexual Day does not symbolize a struggle against gays but against what I believe are excesses and privileges.”
Opponents shot back saying the move was nothing short of divisive homophobia.
“This project creates a separate category and enhances the possibility of discrimination and prejudice,” said Ítalo Cardoso of the rival Workers’ Party. “I hope that the day soon arrives when we don’t need more laws to defend gay rights.”
The bill must be approved by Mayor Gilberto Kassab in order to become law, but Mr. Kassab has not said if he will approve it or not.