As the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association plans to hold its 2012 Convention in Brazil April 12 to 14, violence against gays in that country is making headlines - again.
"Murders of gays and lesbians [in Brazil] are on the rise," according to the online news site The Daily Beast. “Attacks against gays have climbed steadily for most of the last decade, with 272 murdered in 2011—one every 36 hours, according to Grupo Gay da Bahía, a leading gay-rights group that tracks anti-gay violence. This year, GGB reports, it’s even worse, with 75 murders in just the first 10 weeks. That’s one every 24 hours.”
These statistics are shocking for a country often cited as one of the gay-friendliest in South America. However, reports of gay-murders in Brazil are not new. According to a January 2011 article by Gay City News, there were 121 gays murdered in 2007, 187 in 2008, 198 in 2009 and 250 in 2010.
Sérgio Carrara, a professor at the Institute of Social Medicine at UERJ, the State University of Rio de Janeiro, believes that the number of gay-murders is likely under reported. In the same Gay City News article, Carrara is quoted as saying, "The absence of a law against hate crimes means most of these crimes are treated with silence."
While Brazil allows same-sex marriage and is home to one of the largest gay pride celebrations in the city of São Paulo, its efforts to pass measures designed to curb anti-gay violence have failed.
As word of Brazil's gay-murders spread, it is possible that U.S. LGBT travelers will decrease their travel to the country. As part of the 16th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Report by the gay travel research and marketing firm Community Marketing, Inc. 81% of gay men and 84% of lesbians in the U.S. report they would "avoid destinations that have a reputation for anti-gay violence."