'Heterosexual pride day' in S__o Paulo?

Proponents of a straight pride parade say that it is needed to shore up Brazil's eroding 'morals.'

Brazil alre...

Proponents of a straight pride parade say that it is needed to shore up Brazil's eroding 'morals.'

Brazil already has some of the world_s biggest and most vibrant gay groups, with millions of people taking to the streets all across this South American nation to celebrate their sexual identity in gay pride marches.

Now, in a move blasted as discriminatory by some and farcical by others, councilors in Brazil_s largest city S__o Paulo have voted to introduce a rival "Heterosexual Pride Day."

The man behind the move, Carlos Apolin__rio of the right-wing Democrats Party, said he didn_t want a parade to celebrate heterosexuality on the third Sunday of December, the day chosen to mark the occasion. He did, however, feel compelled to make a symbolic move to shore up Brazil_s eroding _morals."

Mr. Apolin__rio, who has the support of Brazil_s powerful Protestant church lobby, said, _The creation of Heterosexual Day does not symbolize a struggle against gays but against what I believe are excesses and privileges._

Opponents shot back saying the move was nothing short of divisive homophobia.

_This project creates a separate category and enhances the possibility of discrimination and prejudice,_ said _talo Cardoso of the rival Workers_ Party. _I hope that the day soon arrives when we don_t need more laws to defend gay rights._

The bill must be approved by Mayor Gilberto Kassab in order to become law, but Mr. Kassab has not said if he will approve it or not.

While S__o Paulo is home to a vibrant gay scene, homophobia is a constant concern. The legislation comes just a few weeks after a conservative congressman in the capital Brasilia courted controversy by apparently calling blacks promiscuous, and then declaring himself proud to be prejudiced against gays. And last month a group of youths attacked and maimed a father they thought was gay because he hugged his teenage son.

A homosexual is killed every 36 hours in Brazil, according to the Gay Group of Bahia, Brazil_s oldest homosexual rights organization. The number of gays killed has risen 113 percent over the last five years, the group said.

The bill also comes as S__o Paulo struggles to build on advances of the past decade. Murder rates, though still high, have plummeted and a series of progressive actions were introduced that made the often gray city a brighter place to live.

But residents can justifiably ask why city councilors are spending time on "Heterosexual Pride" measures, rather than attacking the city_s long documented problems.

The biggest metropolis in the southern hemisphere with more than 20 million people, S__o Paulo suffers from chronic air and noise pollution, has some of the world_s most notorious traffic jams, and is "home" to thousands of street people who roam the often freezing city center.

It has inadequate rail, metro, and road links; faces devastating floods each year due to the lack of investment in infrastructure; and is in danger of missing out on the 2014 World Cup because its preparations are so far behind schedule.

Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2011/0804/Heterosexual-Pride-Day-in-Sao-Paulo

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