By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Thousands took to the streets of São Paulo on Sunday to celebrate the 18th Gay Pride Parade. Hundreds of rainbow colored balloons and flags filled the city center’s streets with supporters asking for the criminalization of homophobia.
According to independent entity Gay Group from Bahia (GGB) 310 sex-hate crimes occurred in Brazil last year against gays, transvestites and lesbians. Brazil’s Congress, due in part to pressure from religious groups, has not yet passed specific laws against homophobic acts.
Same-sex unions have been legal in Brazil since 2004, but many local jurisdictions have refused to marry these couples. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that local courts could not reject same sex marriage applications
Many at this year’s parade held signs asking for the return to a more politicized march and complaining that it had become just a huge annual block party. Nelson Matias one of founders of the Gay Pride Parade in São Paulo disagrees. “The Parade itself is political. The conquests are not only in the Parade, our success is to show resistance.”
Although organizers estimated a public of close to a million participants, São Paulo police indicated that the crowd was around 100,000. Before the start of the parade, São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin announced that the city would be creating a Sexual Diversity Museum to be located at Avenida Paulista.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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