Brazil’s institutional violence against LGBTQ

By Alinne Lopes Gomes

Image result for Marielle Franco quote
Photo Credit:UN Women

Marielle Franco
The Brazilian political activist – a black, gay single mother – was a fearless fighter in a country mired in racism and inequality. Her murder should reverberate around the world. [The Guardian]

Between January 2008 and April 2016, the NGO Transgender Europe accounted 2,115 transgender murders. Brazil is responsible for 845 of the cases, as the leader of the ranking, followed by Mexico with 247.

In 2016, the country led the global ranking on the death of transsexual people. According to the NGO Transgender Europe, between January of 2008 and April of 2016, 2115 transgender people were murdered globally, 845 of those cases having happened in Brazil; it was the absolute leader, being followed by Mexico with 247. 

In 2016, Brazil’s Public Ministry, through the Special Secretary of Human Rights within the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality and Human Rights, published a report on homophobic violence during the year of 2013. It was revealed by the report that during the year analyzed the hotline for human rights violations received 3,398 complaints regarding the LGBT community. 

The number represents a diminution considering 2012’s 6,136. Aside from the state of Piauí, that showed an increase in the amount of reported violations, the numbers show consistent apparent improvement. Specialists who compiled the report warn that the numbers don’t necessarily mean that the country suffered a decrease in homophobia cases. 

Black people represent the biggest part of the reported victims, rounding up to almost 40%, followed by white people with 27%. Without considering the ramifications of social and visibility reasons, men were represented by 73% of the victims, while women only represented 16%. The reason behind the number may be traced back to the fact women are less likely to report on violence suffered. 

Regarding murders linked to the LGBT population or with sexual orientation or gender identity motivation, it was found that 53.4% were gay, 29.5% were transvestites, 4.4% were lesbians, 0.8% were transsexual women and 0.4% transsexual men. There were, yet, 11.7% of cases were the victim was from a non-identified gender or orientation that distinguished from heteronormativity and gender roles. The weapons used in these murders strayed from the national numbers, it was reported that in 31.8% of the cases a knife was used, while only 29.9% used a fire weapon.

Anthropologist Luiz Mott, founder of the Gay Group of Bahia, compiled a research in 2015, along other researchers of the field, and their results showed an amount of 318 deaths of LGBT individuals during the year analyzed; the victims were identified as 52% gays, 37% transvestites, 16% lesbians and 10% bisexuals

The Northeast region of the country leads the cases of homophobic and transphobic related homicides. São Paulo represents leadership in absolute numbers, but proportionally the state of Amazonas had the relative leadership in 2015, as stated in Mott’s research.



This article is extracted from the Research paper titled 'LGBT Policies and Overall Safety in Brazil'  in Chapter 4 of the Safety Report by SAFIGI Outreach Foundation 'Safety First for Girls'.



The Safety Report by SAFIGI is a two-fold Open research on 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The first part of the Safety Report is a Research Paper. The second part is a detailed Data Analysis. 

The Safety Report Research paper is titled: 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The paper starts with an abstract before focusing on subjects in the key regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. A total of 7 Research papers make up the safety Report (sans the introduction and conclusion), including:


  1. The psychological effect of mass sexual harassment on girls in Egypt (P.24) by Heba Elasiouty.
  2. Safety concerns in relation to social media: Growing up female in an increasingly digital world (P.45) by Karin Temperley.
  3. Psychosocial challenges faced by parents raising children with physical disabilities in Oshana region (P.68) by Misumbi Shikaputo.
  4. Gender-based violence and subsequent safety challenges experienced by Rohingya women (P.119) by Shucheesmita Simonti.
  5. LGBT policies and overall safety in Brazil (P.141) by Alinne Lopes Gomes.
  6. Silent voices‘: Violence against the female body as consequence of machismo culture (P.177)  by Steffica Warwick.
  7. America‘s Public Policy on Sexuality: The Repression of Girls in Vulnerable Populations (P.208) by Dr. Christina Sisti.


SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd, a volunteer-based and youth led NGO registered in Zambia, implemented the Safety Report in order to understand the multifaceted concept of safety and how it applies to the female gender in diverse settings. And therefore, further prove safety is intrinsic, and that vices in society stem from an intimate level of the human being before its manifestation. This way, when we create safety solutions, whether it be in a developing nation, conflict zone, refugee camp, or patriarchal society, the problem is resolved from a deeply rooted cause. Such that, we treat the disease itself and not mere symptoms.

This study is as a result of collaborative effort pursued in the spirit of volunteerism via UN Online Volunteers.

Comments