Federal Judge Herley da Luz Brasil, from the Federal Court of Acre, ordered the Brazilian Institute of Statistical Geography (IBGE) to include questions on sexual orientation in this year's Demographic Census. The decision responds to a request from the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office of Acre and, although the decision originated in local action, it applies to the entire country.
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When the prosecutor's office filed the action, the institute said that the questions on gender configure "sensitive issues" and may be considered "invasive." In the lawsuit filed in the Federal Court of Acre, the regional prosecutor for Citizen's Rights, Lucas Costa Almeida Dias, argued that doing the Census without questions on gender identity and sexual orientation prevents formulating public policies that meet the needs of the LGBTQIA+ population.
"For the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, statistical information plays an important role in the effectiveness of public policies by highlighting social issues that are still latent, and only from the knowledge of the number and living conditions of these populations their social demands can become part of the state agenda," said the Public Ministry in a text published after the judge's decision. In the decision ordering IBGE to ask the questions, Judge Herley da Luz Brasil noted that although the LGBTQIA+ population has been part of society "for millennia," the community is relegated to "social invisibility."
"Although we know that for millennia people who fit the LGBTQIA+ classification have been part of society, we also know that in many - if not the vast majority - these people are relegated to social invisibility, with strong repression by some religious institutions, by the state and, even as a consequence of the actions of these entities, by society," the judge wrote in the ruling.
The magistrate further stated that discrimination is "strong" to the point of leaving the LGBTQIA+ population "on the margins" of society "just because people identify as LGBTQIA+."
"The omission that the Brazilian State has historically used to the detriment of the LGBTQIA+ population is relevant and must be corrected. While persecution, disease, death, holocaust, and other criminal discrimination were and/or are practiced by action, there is also the violation of rights by the omission of the State," he added.
By law, the demographic Census must be conducted every ten years. The last one took place in 2010. In 2020, however, the survey conducted by IBGE was postponed due to the pandemic. In addition, the Union budget for 2021 did not provide resources for the Census, and the survey was delayed again until 2022.
Even so, the conduct of the Census was suspended after the IBGE reported that the government's separate budget, which amounted to 420 million dollars, was 63 million dollars below the minimum needed. Last year, the Supreme Federal Court (STF) ruled that the government must conduct the Census in 2022. In October, the government informed the STF that it would allocate the necessary funds to carry out the survey.