Left Menu
Development News Edition

Gay congressman flees Brazil, citing death threats

Reuters | Updated: 25-01-2019 04:10 IST | Created: 25-01-2019 04:10 IST
Gay congressman flees Brazil, citing death threats

By Oscar Lopez WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A prominent gay congressman in Brazil announced on Thursday that he was leaving his job and fleeing the country because of increased death threats made against him.

Jean Wyllys, the country’s first openly gay congressman, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper that he had left Brazil and was going to work in academia, with no plans to return home. “Preserving a life under threat is also a strategy to fight for better days,” Wyllys wrote on Twitter with a link to the article.

“We have done much for the common good. And we will do much more when the new era arrives, and it doesn’t matter that we do it by other means! Thank you to all of you with all my heart.” Wyllys, who was re-elected to a third term in parliament last October, had received numerous death threats in the past, but according to the report in Folha, these had intensified significantly since the killing last March of Wyllys' close friend Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro councilwoman.

A representative from Wyllys' communication team told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the congressman would not be giving interviews for safety reasons, and would not reveal Wyllys’ current location. The news provoked dismay among Brazilian LGBT+ rights activists, many of whom saw Wyllys as a leader in the fight for gay rights, particularly under President Jair Bolsonaro, who has become well known for his homophobic comments.

“I understand his decision, but I am very sorry that we are going through this situation,” Luis Arruda, a prominent LGBT+ activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. ”It’s regrettable that an elected parliamentarian felt so pressured, and so emotionally hurt, that he had to leave his country. It’s really sad.”

Wyllys was an outspoken critic of the president prior to Bolsonaro's election win last year, and had clashed with him numerous times in parliament. The most notable incident occurred during the heated impeachment hearings of former President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, when Wyllys spit on then-congressman Bolsonaro.

With Bolsonaro’s presidential victory in October, Wyllys said he no longer felt comfortable living in Brazil. “The president who always slandered me, who always openly insulted me, who always used homophobia against me,” Wyllys said in the interview with Folha. “This environment is not safe for me."

Wyllys is set to be replaced in parliament by David Miranda, another openly gay politician who is currently serving as a member of the Rio de Janeiro city council and belongs to Wyllys’ Socialism and Liberty Party. Miranda, another outspoken critic of Bolsonaro, has promised to defend LGBT+ rights in Brazil under the current administration.

“The LGBT community is always struggling - in every country in this world,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “With this government it’s not going to be any different. We’re going to have to learn to hold the rights we were able to obtain over the years. But at the same time, we have to struggle to sustain our survival.” (Reporting by Oscar Lopez; Editing by Jason Fields; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Videos

Latest News

Mexico issues arrest warrants on sixth anniversary of disappearance of 43 college students

Mexican authorities issued dozens of arrest warrants for police and soldiers on Saturday who they believe may have participated in the 2014 disappearance of 43 Mexican college students, head of the investigation said.Omar Gomez, head of the...

Assam govt to spend Rs 134 cr to upgrade Silchar hospital

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said the government will spend Rs 134 crore to set up a 500-bed emergency wing and other infrastructure at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital. Sarma inaugurated a 40-bed Intensive ...

Vajpayee statue to be installed at The Ridge in Shimla, decides HP cabinet

The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on Saturday decided to install a statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at The Ridge in Shimla, in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, informed a press release b...

BJP-led NDA turned blind eye to Punjab, it's not the alliance envisioned by Vajpayee: Harsimrat

Senior SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday said the BJP-led NDA government at the centre turned a blind eye to Punjab and is not the alliance that was envisioned by former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Harsimrat Kaur Bad...

Give Feedback