Brazil’s far-right and anti-LGBTI president, Jair Bolsonaro, met with former US president George W Bush in Texas on Wednesday (15 May).
‘A healthy and productive conversation‘ Bolsonaro, who has described himself as a ‘proud homophobe’, wrote on Twitter.
‘We continue to work and seek to increasingly conquer the world’s trust in Brazil’ he said.
Na tarde de hoje encontrei-me com o ex-presidente dos Estados Unidos, George W. Bush, em seu escritório no Texas. Uma saudável e produtiva conversa. Seguimos trabalhando e buscando conquistar cada vez mais a confiança do mundo no Brasil. pic.twitter.com/OZvCWkmO9i
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) May 15, 2019
On Thursday, Bolsonaro will speak at a World Affairs Council of America event in Dallas.
LGBTI advocacy group GLAAD called his public appearance a ‘dangerous precedent’.
‘It’s disappointing to see the World Affairs Council of Dallas stepping in and providing a forum to this dangerous leader who promotes violence against LGBTQ people in his own country,’ said Zeke Stokes, Chief Programs Officer at GLAAD in a statement.
‘President Bolsonaro does not deserve this platform. Period.’
Bolsonaro was scheduled to attend a Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce gala in New York this week, but canceled the trip following a major backlash.
At least three major sponsors pulled support of the event over Balsonaro and his atrocious human rights record.
The American Museum of Natural History also pulled out as hosts following an outcry.
Former US president George W Bush, who was in office from 2001 to 2009, has a questionable LGBTI rights record.
He opposed same-sex marriage but did allow for the possibility of civil unions in his 2004 presidential campaign.
Bolsonaro also set to meet Texas senator, Republican Ted Cruz.
Trump of the Tropics
Bolsonaro has praised US President Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTI policies.
Brazil and the US were ‘side by side’ in efforts to ensure ‘traditional family values’ he said upon a visit to the US last year.
Known for his far-right policies and anti-LGBTI, misogynistic, and racist comments, some people call Bolsonaro ‘the Trump of the Tropics’.
LGBTI activists have warned Bolsonaro will usher in a new wave of terror for Brazil’s LGBTI community.
In January, Brazil’s only openly-gay lawmaker fled the country.
‘For the future of this cause,’ Jean Wyllys told Folha de S. Paulo, ‘I have to stay alive. ‘I don’t want to be a martyr’, he also said.
He said he did not plan to return to Brazil.
Many LGBTI Brazilians who said they were fearful for their rights and safety under the rule of the openly homophobic Bolsonaro.
Prior to the presidency, Brazil saw a spate of same-sex weddings, as same-sex couples rushed to marry before Bolsonaro took office.
Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, many LGBTI people worry that Bolsonaro might begin rescinding LGBTI rights during his presidency.
2018 was one of the deadliest years for Brazil’s LGBTI community.
In September, Brazilian LGBTI rights group reported more than 300 LGBTI people have been murdered in Brazil in 2018. Importantly, that’s from 220 by the same time the previous year.
‘I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child’ Bolsonaro once said.
‘If your son starts acting a little gay, hit him with some leather, and he’ll change his behavior’ he also said.