Hundreds of thousands of marchers turned out to make history at Sao Paulo’s 20th annual Gay Pride parade on Sunday.
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Participants said one goal of this year’s procession is to offer a major show of support of proposed federal legislation that would allow Brazilians to claim the gender identity of their choosing, “which may or may not correspond to their gender at birth,” the text of the bill states.
One participant said.
For some people, this is a Carnival out of season — to have fun, mess up and do some wrong things. In my case and for many others, we came for a cause — asking for respect, to fight for our rights, for people to treat the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community better. We are human beings, just like any others.”
The legislation, if approved, would also require government health providers to pay for sex-change operations.
The Pride in Sao Paulo began at 10am on Avenida Paulista, with over a thousand police officers were on hand – due to protests were planned against acting president Michel Temer, the replacement for Dilma Rousseff, who is undergoing an impeachment trial.
Sao Paulo held it first Gay Pride march in 1996 and drew a mere 2,000 people.
But now it has become a top tourist draw in this city of 20 million, second only after the Formula One car race.
One LGBT rights activist, Viviany Beleboni, 27, told reporters she would march with a Bible in hand to protest an evangelical group in parliament that has blocked pro-LGBT legislation.
A draft law to punish homophobic actions has been stalled for years by Catholic and evangelical blocs.
Brazil’s Supreme Court in 2011 recognized the stable unions of homosexual couples, guaranteeing them the same rights as enjoyed by heterosexual couples.