Damares and the LGBTI dismantling

Christiana Carvalho's photo


Policies guaranteeing the rights of the LGBTI population are slowly and without fanfare emptied

Bolsonaro's militantly homophobic record. The 2018 campaign focused on creating moral panic (via fakenews) against sexual and reproductive rights, which stimulated hatred, contempt, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, transgender people. This whole context terrified literally millions of LGBTI people. Between October 2018 and mid-2019, conversations between us touched on the themes: depression, exile, suicide, self-defense, troubled mental health, panic. Jean left, a lot of good people too.

Fortunately, things weren't so horrible, from the point of view of the brutal resurgence of everyday violence against LGBTI. Although, yes, the murders of transvestites increased, at the same time that femicide and lethal violence by the Military Police against young black people increased.

The fact is that, after being elected, anti-LGBTI rhetoric lost ground in the daily life of the Bolsonaro government. And, although the digital militias have always been actively against us, the objective operation of Bolsonarism was less aggressive. Surprisingly, more sophisticated.

Yes, the government appealed the decision of the STF that equated discrimination against LGBTI with racism (in June 2019), complained, kicked and such. But it stopped there. There was no powerful articulation by the government to approve any overtly restrictive legislation or to oppose the advances implemented by the Supreme Court.

The so-called “evangelical caucus” and other Christian conservatives perhaps expected a more bellicose and proactive attitude from the president they elected and support so diligently.

It is important to note that initiatives aimed at abolishing sexual and reproductive rights, or individual freedoms, faced opposition from the mayor, Rodrigo Maia, who was notable for supporting the government's ultraliberal agenda, and, at the same time, being a point of containment for outbursts authoritarians and obscurantists of Bolsonaro.

The government has been operating the institutional setback, without much fuss. When he completed his first 100 days, Bolsonaro had already done a lot (against us). I wrote an article right here reporting the main measures[I] – from the extinction, in the MEC, of ​​SECADI (which dealt with diversity and inclusion), passing through the veto, in the Ministry of Health, of any HIV/AIDS prevention campaign directed specifically at LGBTI, to the extinction of the National Population Council . Ah, but instead they created a small “committee”, controlled by the government, with no power whatsoever.

Before that, when reconfiguring the Ministry of Human Rights (and also the FAMILY) in January 2019, Bolsonaro removed the LGBT population from the general guidelines of the new Ministry.

There were other actions even more direct and objective. For example, the veto to the funding of audiovisual productions related to sexual and gender diversity. The former captain even mentioned and discredited an award-winning short by black gay directors (“Affront”[ii]).

That is, Bolsonarism follows its program of destruction of social policies and ideological dispute, of permanent obscurantist propaganda.

However, I wanted to raise a more sinuous hypothesis.

The Damares Factor

Good speaker, charismatic, extensive experience as a parliamentary advisor. The appointment of Damares Alves to head the “new” Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights surprised many people (she ran over big names, such as Magno Malta). His mannerisms and “absurd” lines caused laughter, mockery and contempt in the well-informed and progressive bubble.

On January 4, 2019, troubled, I published an article here with the title Don't laugh at Damares, she knows very well what she does[iii].

So. The humorous “mother, evangelical pastor, educator, lawyer” – 1,2 million followers on twitter –, with a personal history marked by abuse and violence, adoptive mother of an indigenous teenager, defender of children and women – and family, and traditional gender roles, in all polls it always appears at the top of popularity among Bolsonaro's ministers.

Damares defends that children belong to families and that they are princes or princesses – no confusion. And, at the same time, he preaches acceptance and argues that transvestites need opportunities and attention. He caught a lot of the neo-fascist hard core on the networks for saying that.

Radically against women's rights (to the point of trying to prevent a 9-year-old girl, raped by her stepfather, from interrupting the pregnancy), Damares retained, in the coordination of LGBT policies, a trans teacher, well connected with the social movement.

On December 20, 2018, before taking office, therefore, the minister-pastor made a point of meeting with LGBTI activists from various organizations and members of the LGBT Council (which would later be extinct)[iv]. The photo of the meeting generated serious disputes in the organized movement, of course.

On the deck, the future Minister pledged to combat homotransphobic violence. She denounced a “false war” between Christians and homosexuals. She promised dialogue. And she went further, stating: “if necessary, I will be on the streets with transvestites, at the doors of schools with children who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation”. Wow!

Nothing came out of paper, of course.

The enthusiasm of the most optimistic government-supporters has diminished a lot. But the Minister continued trying to maintain bridges with the movement and defend assistance guidelines. Pious. Welcoming. Meanwhile, follow the minister-missionary in the fierce fight against “gender ideology”, promoting a world of handsome princes in blue uniforms and princesses in diaphanous baby pink dresses.

Even irritating one or another fundamentalist pitbull (the malafaia of life), Damares remains popular, “terribly evangelical”, dialoguing with the poor, peripherals, especially women – who voted or vote for Lula, in the PT, “for social”.

Damares seems to be a popular Bolsonarist bias with a different aesthetic.

It refers to the “compassionate conservatism” of the American republicans, which transfers social actions from the State to religious organizations. And it seeks to mix the harshness of conservatism with hints of welcoming.

Nothing better than an evangelical and charismatic woman to take on this role in the midst of a bunch of white-misogynist alpha males who structure Bolsonarism.

the real dismantling

Salaams aside, erasure is the norm.

Even the term LGBT. After removing this population from the Ministry's guidelines, there was a general nomenclature change in programs, actions and everything else. Everything that had a specific brand was exchanged and diluted. The “National Secretariat for Global Protection” was created, to which the Department for the Promotion of LGBT Rights was attached (apparently one of the few spaces to keep the acronym “damn”).

Well then. In 2019, the Damarian Ministry executed less than 5% of its entire budget. In 2020, the so-called Global Secretariat spent just over 20% of the resources. AND, surprise! The LGBT board did not execute a real measly![v].

Much love and little here.

I will end by drawing attention to a new regulation that went unnoticed.

At the end of last year – the DOU published December 7, but it is said that the thing came out on November 12 – Damares decided to give new parameters for LGBTI policies.

By means of an ordinance issued by the said Global Protection Secretariat. Rule number? 24 (yeah!). the one whose regulates guidelines for public policies to promote the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals.

Well written, cunning, instituted without fanfare, the thing did not arouse great reactions (always do bad things at the end of the year, managers – like taking the bus and subway free for the elderly, kisses Doria and Bruninho.)

But, right away, see what the ordinance says when describing the new guidelines of LGBTI policies: “Develop policies and initiatives [vi]including other social groups who experience violence due to prejudice, discrimination and intolerance;”. Other groups? But isn't there a whole Ministry for that? Do gay, sapas and trans policies have to focus on OTHER groups?

From now on, prays Damares (bad joke, I admit) must “Integrate actions to promote the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals public services and assistance established for all citizens.”

In other words, no LGBTI Reference Centers, no specific public policies and facilities, no idea of ​​a hotline for reporting it, nothing at all that is just for LGBTI people.

Then comes:Promote tolerance for all people, groups and beliefs, as well as respect for family ties and intergenerational solidarity.”

Nor will I comment on the conceptual problem with the term tolerance (public human rights policies promote respect for diversity and a pluralistic culture, not mere “tolerance”). Notice that in the middle of the sentence, along with respect for all people and groups comes the magic word BELIEFS.

Well, constitutionally we live in a secular state. Plural, which guarantees religious freedom. What does the promotion of LGBTI rights have to do with “belief tolerance”? Does that mean that making citizenship policies for this population starts from a previous limit, a generic respect for beliefs? What beliefs? From who? Like this? By the way, what a poorly written thing technically.

Here comes the “respect for family ties”.

Encrypted language. Only militants/researchers/experts “pick up” evil. The subtext there is: if the family is homophobic/transphobic, then the children/adolescents be damned. No shelters or reception policies for LGBTI girls and boys who are thrown out of their homes, abused by their families, imprisoned, etc. Contradicting the Constitution and the ECA, which advocate priority for the well-being of children and adolescents, what is said there, without saying it openly, is that fathers and mothers have priority and state support, even against the interests of their children .

It has to do with homeschooling, with paternal power, with all that reactionary familist ideology. With monogamy, bourgeois family, sexism, heterosexism, control of children.

Now the “intergenerational solidarity” thing, I confess. I really didn't understand. But there must be some implicit evil there.

Another guideline that the LGBT Department must follow now: “develop an agenda for mapping, monitoring and actions to defend the rights of social groups who are victims of violence due to prejudice, discrimination and intolerance, doing so in partnership with the Secretariats of this Ministry when there are common skills. ”

Like this? Is it going to be the task of the LGBT area to monitor, map all types of discrimination in the entire world, in this Brazil of my God? What would be the social groups? Why does the Ministry have structures and policies for the elderly, people with disabilities, women, black men and women, youth and will gays be left to play all of this?

Would this item be another reinforcement in the dilution of the specificity of LGBT policies? And those common skills? What are? What do they live on? How do they reproduce? Which of the other Secretariats will join LGBT policies and share the wonders of common competences?

See the sequence: “Include in actions aimed at promoting employability the focus on vulnerable and underprivileged LGBT groups in the labor market, such as young people, blacks, women, indigenous peoples, the elderly, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and people in a situation of humanitarian crisis or of notorious underdevelopment. "

That is, they know that there are, or will one day be, specific actions for employment and income for LGBT people. Then, they send that in these focused actions, vulnerable, black, indigenous, women, pcd, immigrants, and even refugees are included (how much inclusive sensitivity, how beautiful!)

Well, someone tells them that there are dykes, fags, transvestites, bi, trans men, in all these groups there. The class thinks, is it that all people with disabilities, p. eg, are they straight? Anyway…

Now, aren't there going to be other actions aimed at these populations? Will refugees in a “humanitarian crisis situation” have to piggyback on LGBT employability stuff? Won't anything happen to them?

It all seems too generic, right? But in the end, the manager gives the order: The Department for the Promotion of the Rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals - DELGBT must immediately realign its policies and initiatives to the guidelines of this Ordinance, presenting an action plan within 60 (sixty) days from the publication of this act.

Me of! Which Department initiatives would be so “out of the box” like that? Or was it just the lack of an action plan? Considering that the budget was not executed in 2020, it would even make sense...


The friend, activist and researcher Cleyton Feitosa, recently published an article arguing that there is a process of deinstitutionalization of LGBTI policies in Brazil.

I understood the general meaning of the reflection. And I agree with the general frameworks he proposes (worth reading, it's short and not boring, I guarantee it).[vii]It even locates very well the setbacks already in the 2010 campaign, and in the historic nonsense of Dilma, in 2011, who, by canceling in a stupid pen, the “School without Homophobia”, created the myth of the gay kit, which plagues us until today.

It turns out that, strictly speaking, LGBTI policies were never institutionalized in the post-1988 Brazilian democratic order. The National Congress has not approved ANY, not even a single, legislation that guarantees LGBT rights (and it is not worth mentioning the Maria da Penha Law or the Youth Statute, which and passant, mention sexual orientation, etc.).

When Nilmário Miranda and Lula launched Brazil without Homophobia (May 2004), that pioneering and wonderful initiative was not only spearheaded by the organized social movement – ​​and would only have been possible in that government, highly porous to social participation and innovation – but it was also a lean program of minimal institutionalization.

Although it became real policy, in several ministries, the BSH was NEVER structured in the budget cycle. It didn't become law. It did not unfold into a set of legal and infra-legal regulations.

It was all about goodwill, initiative, participation, improvisation. For some years, it was the organized movement that, in the National Congress, dug parliamentary amendments to put the actions of the Executive on foot. A synergy between movement, government and party sector.

In 2008 there was the big leap. 2009st LGBT National Conference. Lula opening, almost a thousand activists from all over Brazil. The pinnacle of the struggle for public policy. In 2010 and XNUMX, the National LGBT Plan, the National Coordination and the National LGBT Council came out. A few more decrees that guaranteed the rights of homosexual couples in state companies, in income tax. The creation of the National Day Against Homophobia, working groups in almost all Ministries, training public security agents, a postgraduate course for teachers in gender and sexuality, support for LGBT Parades, changes in SUS policies – which culminated in the process transsexualization and in the comprehensive health policy of the population - and much more.

It was an “unequal and combined” process. With very punctual advances in state and municipal governments. We never conquered, at a national level, a LEGAL FRAMEWORK. A system of LGBTI policies, with structure, parameters, funding and mechanisms for participation. The bill to criminalize discriminatory conduct regarding sexual orientation/gender identity, for example, passed the House in 2006 and stayed in the Senate for a decade, until it was definitively buried.

Getting back to the point. There were indeed enormous advances between the late 1990s and 2014, mainly at the federal level, but also in important state governments, such as Rio de Janeiro (greater structured public policy) or municipal governments (such as São Paulo, which , since 2005 it has had an LGBT body – and in the Haddad government, it made the biggest policy of all time in terms of budget, equipment and programs, creating, including the first public policy for transvestites and transgender people, the Transcitizenship.)

However, the great achievements came through the Supreme Court. 2011, stable union, with marriage in 2013, via CNJ. 2018, recognition of the rights of transgender people. 2019, criminalization of anti-LGBT discrimination. In 2020 STF overturns the ban on homosexuals donating blood.

The fact: we have not reached a level of recognition and INSTITUTIONALIZATION of LGBT policies. Advances have always been punctual, precarious, dated and/or judicialized, and not always effective.

Bolsonaro-Damares more than destroying or deinstitutionalizing what little there was, they operate, wholesale, a policy of emptying and de-characterization. Of reconfiguration and resignification.

The LGBT Department was not abolished. Employees were not fired. The budgetary charge was not deleted. On the contrary, Damares has (rhetorical) proposals for the population. He is moved by trans exclusion, defends dialogue and respect. Cute.

At the same time, in real life, the budget is not executed And, more importantly, the operational normative frameworks that define the policy itself are changed, such as the aforementioned ordinance 24/2020. Slowly. Inside.

Yes, we live an interrupted process of recognition of rights and structuring of universal and targeted social policies.

However, we had not reached a level of “citizenization of homosexuality” (our Sérgio Carrara). We were not even close to the danger of co-option of the naive and pure combative movements by the evil State.

We are even further away from INSTITUTIONALIZATION. There was never a “SUS LGBT”, a “SUAS LGBT”, or anything like that. Not even an effective “Pact against LGBT violence”, backed by law (see Maria da Penha).

Finally, Damares corrodes inside, smiles outside, is popular – a first-class agitator-propagandist. A very strong opponent of the struggle for gender equality, racial equality, sexual and reproductive rights, the struggle for democracy and pluralism.

The giant, immediate challenge, the greatest of all, therefore, continues to be to defeat Bolsonarism, in all its facets.

* Julian Rodrigues is a professor, journalist and LGBTI and human rights activist.









See this link for all articles