South America's favorite "out and proud" homophobe Jair Bolsonaro - who was once labeled a "very dangerous human" by NYC Mayor and pioneering LGBTQ activist Bill de Blasio - rankled members of Brazil's LGBTQ community on Friday when he warned that Brazilians must now allow their country to become a "gay tourism paradise."
Bolsonaro, who has proudly declared himself a homophobe and has a long history of controversial remarks. to back that up, told a group of reporters during a breakfast meeting in Brasilia that he had no qualms with sex tourism in Brazil, so long as it remained between a man and a woman, as God intended. He added that ending the scourge of 'gay tourism' was vital for preserving his country's family values.
"If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life," Bolsonaro reportedly told journalists in the capital, Brasília. "But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families," Bolsonaro said, according to local media reports cited by the Guardian.
The president's comments immediately ignited a backlash among the LGBTQ community, as LGBTQ activists slammed him for inciting hatred and violence.
"This is not a head of state – this is a national disgrace," said David Miranda, a left-wing congressman and LGBT activist. Miranda added that the president's comments endangered gay people by “putting a target on their backs”, while simultaneously promoting the sexual exploitation of Brazilian women.
Renan Quinalha, a São Paulo-based lawyer and LGBT activist, blamed Bolsonaro for his "disastrous declaration, both from the human rights point of view and with regards to Brazil’s international image.”
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who won what many viewed as a long-shot campaign for president by running on a conservative pro-business and pro-military platform, once declared “Yes, I’m homophobic – and very proud of it."
During a 2013 interview with the British actor Stephen Fry, Bolsonaro allegedly claimed that "homosexual fundamentalists" have been brainwashing heterosexual children to "become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future." He added that Brazilian society "doesn't like homosexuals."