Words: Steve Brown
The only openly gay Brazilian congressman who stepped down from office following death threats has been replaced by another out councillor.
Jean Wyllys – who was a close friend of the gay Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco who was shot and killed in March - was re-elected in October and was set to start a third term this February.
However, over the last year, Wyllys had received a growing number of threats and in a recent interview, he said he was out of the country and had no plans to return to Brazil.
Wyllys stated his departure from his home country and his job were not due to the election of far-right and homophobic president Jair Bolsonaro.
Now, Wyllys is set to be replaced in congress by Rio de Janeiro city councillor David Miranda, who is openly gay and married to Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald.
While speaking to CBC, Miranda admitted that he is also “afraid” for his life but added that people in Brazil “need a voice”.
He said: “Obviously, I’m afraid for my life or what can happen to my family, but in moments like this, you have to be brave, even with the fear that becomes courage.
“People need a voice in Brazil, and I know that I can do the job.”
Miranda then took aim at the new president – who has openly stated he does not support the LGBT+ community – saying that Bolsonaro’s anti-LGBT stance “gives strength” to people to bring harm to the community.
He continued: “When you have a president elected that doesn’t represent us, saying openly that he’s against not only the LGBT community, but also against human rights activists, that gives strength to a lot of people to do things in his name, on his behalf, to harm us.
“[LGBT people] are made of resistance… I will be one of the voices for resistance in the Congress.”