Brazil Supreme Court Officially Outlaws Gender and Sexuality Discrimination

The remaining members of Brazil’s Supreme Court voted Thursday, June 13, to criminalize discrimination based on gender or sexuality.

What We Know…

  • Six of the judges voted to pass the legislation Thursday, May 23. Though this majority ensured the future enactment of the bill, it was not until the remaining five judges voted Thursday, June 13 that the bill could officially come into effect.
  • The final vote for the legislation was 8-3. It allows individuals who have experienced discrimination based on gender or sexuality to sue, though specified punishments for this sort of discrimination will later be defined by Congress.
  • This bill criminalizes both physical or verbal homophobic and transphobic discrimination, similar to many other countries like Switzerland who outlaw gender and sexuality discrimination to varying degrees.
  • This vote includes gender discrimination in Brazil’s 1989 legislation that outlaws racial discrimination in the country. This inclusion is meant to serve as a placeholder until Congress can pass legislation that specifically about the LGBT community.
  • Brazilian congressman David Miranda told the Wall Street Journal that Congress has attempted to introduce bills to criminalize hate crimes against gay people that have not been approved.
  • This divide between Brazilian Supreme Court and Congressional decisions has long riddled the fight for LGBT equality; in 2011 the Supreme Court voted to recognize same-sex civil unions though Congress has not yet passed similar legislation.
  • Though this legislation is certainly a victory, president of the LGBT Pride Parade Association of São Paulo Claudia Regina said “it won’t make much of a difference unless we improve education and change attitudes.”

In an era of growing hostility towards the LGBT community in Brazil, this legislation represents a step in the right direction.