Brazil's New President Eliminates LGBT Office on First Day in Office

Michael W. Chapman | January 10, 2019 | 5:10pm EST
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Brazilian President Jair
Bolsonaro. (Getty Images)

On Jan. 1, the day he was sworn in as Brazil's new president, conservative Jair Bolsonaro signed an executive order removing LGBT concerns from the government's human rights ministry, apparently affirming his traditional Christian, pro-family views and his rejection of "gender-based ideology."

In his inauguration speech, Bolsonaro, who is strongly anti-socialist, said, “We are going to unite the people, rescue the family, respect religions and our Judeo-Christian tradition, combat gender ideology, conserving our values.”

The executive order that removes LGBT concerns from the ministry did not designate any other government office to address those issues. 

(Getty Images)

Brazil's new Minister of Human Rights, Family and Women is Damares Alves, age 54. She is an evangelical minister who has worked as a legal adviser to the National Congress of Brazil for 20 years. Alves is pro-life. 

During her Jan. 2 swearing-in, Alves said, "The State is secular, but this minister is extremely Christian, and because of that, she believes in God's design," as reported in Folha de S. Paulo. She also said, "One of the challenges will be to end the abuse of ideological indoctrination. The ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil is over."

In Brazil, she added, "girls will be princesses and boys will be princes."

LGBT activist Symmy Larrat, as reported by AP, is not optimistic about the new government. “The human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called Secretariat of Promotion and Defense of Human Rights," she said. "That body just disappeared, just like that. We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues.”

During the presidential campaign, Bolsonaro said, "God above everything. There is no such thing as a secular state. The state is Christian and the minority will have to change, if they can. The minorities will have to adapt to the position of the majority."


After Bolsonaro's inauguration, President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations and added, "the U.S.A. is with you!"

Bolsonaro, 63, replied by Twitter, "Dear Mr. President @realDonaldTrump, I truly appreciate your words of encouragement. Together, under God's protection, we shall bring posterity and progress to our people!" 

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