A Brazilian Prison is opening next Tuesday a “diversity aisle” in order to limit verbal and physical abuses that usually face prisoners with sexual preferences and gender identities that differ from the socially constructed norm of heterosexuality.
“Besides preserving the physical integrity of LGBT people, the diversity aisle demonstrates respect to the specificity of every single person and will offer more dignity to people imprisoned who would wish this kind of environment,” said Andre Santos da Silva, who led the project for the prison.
The prison will first make available 15 vacancies for convicts already located in the prison Eldo Sa Correa, in the town of Rondonopolis, central-eastern state of Matto Grosso. But the project aims to then expand the vacancies available for inmates from other prisons in the country.
Only inmates who explicitly express their wish to be transferred to the diversity aisle will be relocated there, according to the Ministry for Justice and Human Rights.
In Brazil, the state of Mato Grosso has been pioneering the creation of spaces dedicated to LGBT people deprived of freedom. In 2012, the Cuiaba re-socialization center created the Rainbow aisle for transsexual people, gays and transvestites.
Brazil has one of the world's highest rates of LGBT hate crimes, despite a reputation for sexual tolerance.
In January, the Brazilian-based organization Grupo Gay de Bahia released a report finding that anti-LGBT crime had increased in 10 Latin American countries, with Brazil heading the list with 958 killed in the past three years —half of them last year.