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  • LGBTI people in Brazil are in a rush to get married before Bolsonaro takes office.

    LGBTI people in Brazil are in a rush to get married before Bolsonaro takes office. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 December 2018

Hundreds of same-sex couples are getting married before homophobic Jair Bolsonaro takes office as a president. 

LGBT people in Brazil are rushing to get married before the openly homophobic President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes office in Jan.1.

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According to one association of notaries public, Brazil has seen a 25 percent increase in same-sex marriage in 2018, and a 42 percent increase in Sao Paulo, compared to last year.

This urgency to get married before Bolsonaro takes office as president has become an act of resistance against him.

Even though Bolsonaro’s Vice President Hamilton Mourao said that the incoming government does not plan to change the status of same-sex marriages, the Brazilian Bar Association's director of sexual diversity, Maria Berenice Dias advised that couples who want to get married should do so before the year ends, “as a precaution.”

A growing online movement is seeking to help low-income same-sex couples to get married before the year ends.

The people associated with the movement are volunteering in each others’ weddings. For example, Fernanda Pinacio and Vanessa Cafasso offered free service as photographers for the wedding of Priscilla Cicconi and Bianca Gama who got married Sunday.

“It’s such a hard moment for LGBTI people in Brazil, but we’re supporting each other – and we will make it through,” Cafasso said.

Priscilla Cicconi and Bianca Gama got married Sunday. | Photo: Facebook / Priscilla Cicconi

Some couples are also planning collective weddings. One Sao Paulo LGBT shelter raised enough money to pay for the legal fees and to throw a wedding party for 100 same-sex couples later this month.

The same shelter also raised enough money to help 150 trans people pay to legally change their names and gender before Bolsonaro is sworn in.

“These rights are fragile,” said Pedro Pires, a transgender man, who had been postponing his name change due to the cost, but Bolsonaro’s election changed that. “Once he takes office, we’re afraid we could lose them at any moment.”

Despite the rush to get married, Renan Quinalha, a law professor at the Federal University of Sao Paulo said that overturning the right to same-sex marriage, which was unanimously passed in 2011, will be difficult and can be challenged by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Many homosexuals, however, feel that the immediate effect of Bolsonaro’s presidency will be a rise in homophobic rhetoric and violence towards the LGBTI community.

“Many people were homophobic and kept it inside, but with Bolsonaro in the presidency, now they’re out and empowered,” said Cicconi.

According to Gama, “He’s just one man, but he’s giving a lot of power to those who want to take rights away from us.”

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