By Brennan Stark, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nearly 700,000 people celebrated Rio’s sixteenth annual Gay Pride Parade at Copacabana Beach on Sunday, according to authorities. Members of the LGBT community donned intricate Carnival-style costumes and waved rainbow flags as music blasted from more than fifteen massive sound trucks during the festivities.
Promoting the parade’s theme of equality and that “All Forms of Violence Must be Crime,” revelers cheered loudly to repeated calls for Brazil to authorize previously proposed laws against homophobia.
President of Grupo Arco-Íris (the Rainbow Group) Júlio Moreira addressed the crowds demands, criticizing the federal government for deciding not to distribute “anti-homophobia” kits to public high schools.
The kits would have provided teachers with instructions and guidance on addressing common issues related to homosexuality occurring within their classrooms, with the goal of reducing discrimination against LGBT students.
Sexual-health was also promoted, with numerous tents set up to distribute condoms and pamphlets on preventing sexually transmitted diseases, and the Public Defenders of Rio group, officially attending the parade for the first time, provided free legal advice to participants.
Organizers of the parade had hoped for nearly 1.5 million participants, well above the official figure given by Rio’s police. Last year’s event, which similarly called for more laws against violence motivated by sexual orientation, attracted more than 800,000 supporters.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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