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Brazil's homophobic president Jair Bolsonaro suspends funding for LGBTQ films

The president said funding for LGBTQ screenplays is 'throwing money away'

2019-08-22

Words: Steve Brown

Brazil’s far-right, homophobic president Jair Bolsonaro has suspended funding for LGBTQ movies.

The president – who admitted he was homophobic and once said he would kill his son if he was gay – posted to social media that he was planning to cut funding for LGBTQ-themed movies, a decision that was published on the country’s official website.

During a live stream last week, Bolsonaro said he would change the process for government-funded film projects, claiming funding for LGBTQ films and screenplays is ‘throwing money away’.

The decision – which was signed by Brazil’s minister of Citizenship Osmar Terra – will suspend around R$70 million ($17.42 million) from the government’s grant scheme which could fund around 80 screenplays, including LGBTQ-themed films.

Filmmaker Emerson Maranhao – who helmed a five-part documentary series about the life of five transgender people in Brazil – applied for the funding but now criticised the president’s decision.

He told Thomson Reuters Foundation: “It’s a surreal sensation. I don’t quite believe it yet.

“The first project he called out [during the live stream] was ours, and in such a pejorative and dishonouring way.

“He is harming 80 projects just to get to ours. It’s terrifying.”

Bolsonaro also called out Afronte – a film series based around gay black men living in Brazil’s capital.

Marcus Azevedo, one of the directors, said he was ‘disgusted’ by the president’s decision and called Bolsonaro out for censoring cultural projects.

The suspension will last around 360 days, in which time the government will restructure the committee responsible for allocating the fund’s resources.