Priority target and barrage fire

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By JULIAN RODRIGUES*

The challenges of the LGBTI movement in the midst of the neo-fascist wave

The Bolsonaro government is not a “normal” government – ​​it falls outside the scope of the liberal-democratic arc. It is a neo-fascist movement with international connections. It is disruptive, authoritarian. Bolsonaro’s (Guedes) ultraliberal program enabled his victory in 2018 – there was an expectation among the elites that it could be contained. That's not what happened.

The destruction wrought by Bolsonarism is unprecedented. It is not only about attacking democratic freedoms and social, environmental and labor rights, but also about promoting hate speech and discrimination as government policies. Culture, education, the environment, plurality and the rights of women, blacks and LGBTI are priority targets of neo-fascist attacks.

Bolsonarism established a strong alliance with religious fundamentalism, with merchants of faith and with the Christian right (not only evangelical). Since at least 2010 there has been a conservative rise, which grew between 2013 and 2015, when the fallacy of “gender ideology” was the trigger that amalgamated the moral panic and removed from Educational Plans any mention of gender equality policies of sexual diversity and of gender.

The “anti-gender crusade” is not Bolsonaro or Malafaia’s invention. It is articulated internationally, both with the leadership of the Catholic Church – which elaborated the concept, and with reactionary governments and movements in Europe, the USA and all of Latin America. Paradoxically, this obscurantist crusade takes place at the moment when the LGBTI movement has conquered its three main flags. Along with the Supreme Court. Since 2011, we have achieved: (a) equal marriage; (b) freedom of gender identity; (c) criminalization of discrimination against LGBTIs. Not to mention the victory in blood donation, the decisions that barred “school without party” laws, among others.

Our achievements in the Executive Branch, at all levels, were concentrated between 2003 and 2012. Starting with the daring and unprecedented Brazil without homophobia in 2004, passing through the LGBT Conference in 2008 – and the creation of bodies, plans and policies in several states and municipalities. Two highlights: Rio Without Homophobia and the policies of the government of Fernando Haddad, in which I had the privilege of participating in the elaboration of policies and in the creation of Transcidadania (it was the one that invested the most, reaching R$10 million in the last year of government).

At the same time, the situation is only getting worse in the National Congress, which has never passed any pro-LGBT laws in all these years.

The 2000s were marked by advances in the Federal government and executives. The 2010s were marked by victories in the Judiciary. The situation is very contradictory because in addition to the advances in the Judiciary, we also gained a lot of positive visibility and deepened our articulation with the market. Especially with the media. The positive visibility of LGBTI has grown.

At the same time, prejudice and hate speeches promoted by reactionary Christian leaders articulated with Bolsonaro grew. A network of councillors, state deputies, federal deputies, “influencers” digital is dedicated day and night to attacking LGBTI, to invent and propose restrictive laws, to spread hate speech.

The “moral panic” remains firm and strong, mobilizing millions of workers, poor people, people from the periphery, people who are frightened by their speeches. Gayzism, gay dictatorship, dick bottle, turning boys into girls, femininezis, and all kinds of manipulation. Educational policies are at the center of the war for rights today, against neo-fascist and religious fundamentalist advances.

The extreme right is here to stay. Defeating Bolsonaro at the polls in 2022 is much less difficult than defeating neo-fascism, which today is a mass current in Brazil.

Sexual and reproductive rights, the feminist struggle, the LGBTI struggle are priority targets of Bolsonarism. But we are also among the most organized and dynamic sectors of civil society. We have a bullet in the needle to face this crazy right. At the same time we are a “punching bag” and also a civilizing barrier. We have a fundamental role: to help stop the advance of these authoritarian, racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic ideas.

What to do?

The landscape of the community and the LGBTI movement at large has changed a lot. The first step is to try to understand such transformations in order to reposition ourselves. It is necessary to reinforce centrality, organicity, unity, focus, discourses and common strategies. At the risk of dispersing ourselves into a digital soup. “Lacrolândia” (where individualism, vanity, click-hunting, depoliticization, lack of academic rigor, absence of collective pacts predominate) cannot be the concrete, objective direction of our movement. Quite a challenge there.

Communication on the networks, creating the “love office”, a “Platform of Respect” must be a collective and central effort of the movement. Another focus of the movement should be activist training. For a new militant and organic generation, training is needed that is not the one provided fragmentarily by influencers fingerprints. We have to have a nationally coordinated training policy for activists.

The priority, obviously, is to make every effort to defeat Bolsonaro. Now or at the polls. In the second round, the movement must support the anti-Bolsonarist candidate, who will probably be Lula. At the Data Sheet of September 15, Lula appears with 60% of voting intentions among homosexuals and bisexuals – a true LGBT icon.

Anti-gender crusades focus on educational policy. It is up to the movement to organize a strategy for political advocacy, focusing on a Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality and Respect for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Education.

We are feeling the effect of a very strong backlash, concept that does not have a good translation in Portuguese. It is a reaction, a resentful conservative wave – a powerful feeling that generates a counter-mobilization. Like those strong waves that throw us back to the beach sand.

The LGBTI agenda is not restricted to left/center-left circles – it is embraced and disputed by progressive neoliberals, by the market, by society. Globe, Facebook, centre-right and liberal right parties. In other words, polarization grows, but so does the possibility of alliances.

“Over the last twenty years
there is nothing new
In the roar of storms
We are not happy
Is right,
But also why
Would we be sad?

the sea of ​​history
It's hectic.
The threats
and the wars
We have to cross them.
Break them in half
cutting them
How a keel cuts
The waves."

(Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1927).

* Julian Rodrigues is a teacher and journalist. MMember of the National Council of the MNDH and the National LGBTI Alliance.

 

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