Metro Weekly

Celebrities appear in music video calling for end to anti-LGBTQ violence in Brazil

In recent years, Brazil has become a more inhospitable place for LGBTQ people to live

Celine Dion in a screenshot from the “Igual” video – Photo: Yann, via YouTube.

Several singers and celebrities are lending their support to a music video calling for an end to to anti-LGBTQ violence in Brazil, where it is estimated that a gay or transgender person is killed nearly once a day.

While Brazil is often thought of as a more liberal country, life for LGBTQ people in Brazilian society — which places heavy emphasis on gender conformity and traditional stereotypes of “masculinity” and “femininity” — can be fraught with danger.

Violent attacks and even murders of LGBTQ people, especially transgender women, can be particularly gruesome.

To raise awareness of the issue, Brazilian singer Yann has written and directed a song and accompanying video called “Igual” (Portuguese for “equal”).

In the video, LGBTQ Brazilians, including same-sex couples, hold up printed signs with statistics or facts regarding violence against LGBTQ people.

The video also features appearances by various celebrities, including Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Lorde, Nico Tortorelli, Lana Wachowski, and John Waters.

“Unfortunately, most of the world isn’t aware that Brazil is an incredibly dangerous place for the LGBTI+ community, Yann tells Logo’s NewNowNext. “It was important for me to help shine a stronger light on what’s happening here.”

Proceeds from the sale of “Igual” will benefit LGBTQ organizations on the ground in Brazil.

Although marriage equality is legal in Brazil, parts of society are heavily influenced by either the Catholic Church or the growth of right-wing evangelical churches that take hard-line stances on sexuality and the idea that gender is binary.

Some politicians, eager to capitalize on the growth of conservative elements, willingly spread misinformation, such as when Marcelo Crivella, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, declared that homosexuality was caused by botched abortions.

In October, a judge approved the practice of gay conversion therapy, overturning a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that had forbidden the practice.

Brazil also lacks hate crime laws to prosecute or punish those who assault or murder LGBTQ people.

One of the statistics from Yann’s video estimates that 343 LGBTQ people were killed in Brazil in 2016.

According to Rede Trans, a website monitoring attacks against transgender people, a record 144 transgender individuals were killed in the country in 2016, contributing to a steady uptick in anti-LGBTQ attacks over the past decade.

“We’ve reached a point where religion and politics are now openly walking hand-in-hand, which can lead to a horrifying outcome,” Yann says. “I needed to use my voice as an artist to help [the] community.”

Watch the video for “Igual” below:

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com