Brazilian Evangelical Leader: I’m LGBT Rights’ Worst Enemy

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday November 28, 2011

Silas Malafaia, 53, is a household name for millions of people in Brazil. The Evangelist has sold millions of books and even has a television show that airs in several countries, including the United States. Now he's claiming to be the gay community's public enemy #1.

Malafaia has been able to conjure up a large following through his churches and enterprises that echo his Pentecostal preaching. In addition, the Evangelical leader has publically spoken against a number of Brazil's social issues, such as gay rights, abortion and the decriminalization of marijuana.

"I'm the public enemy No. 1 of the gay movement in Brazil," Malafaia said in a New York Times article.

Malafaia is known for his outrageous language. In November, Epoca magazine claims that during an intense argument between Toni Reis, a gay-rights leader in Brazil, Malafaia said he would take legal action against Reis and "fornicate" him. Malafia, however, says that he said "funicate," claiming that it is slang roughly translated as "trounce."

Despite Malafai's wishes, Brazil has progressed steadily when it comes to LGBT rights. In 2004, Rio Grande do Sul allowed same-sex couples to register civil unions after a court decision in March of the same year. In 2010, the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil ruled to allow gay couples to have the right to adopt children.

In May of this year, the Supremo Tribunal Federal unanimously extended the Stable Unions institute to same-sex couples, which redefined the definition of family and provided them with 112 rights. June marked the first time that a same-sex civil union that was converted into a same-sex marriage in Brazil.

Although Brazilians from the LGBT community enjoy several of the same rights that straight citizens do, discrimination and hatred still exist in the South American country. In December, Mark Blasius, an American author, professor and gay-rights activist, became a victim of a hate crime, EDGE reported in a Feb. 14 article.

Blasisus was visiting Sao Paulo for a conference. One night, Blasisus and two friends decided to go to a dance club in Sao Paul's major gay neighborhood. A tour guide told him that the neighborhood "wasn't a dangerous area," and was only a 10-minute walk from the hotel where he was staying.

"I had asked the guide if it was safe to walk alone at night," Blasius recalls. "I asked if I should take a taxi. He said, 'No, no, it's too close. The taxi driver won't take you directly there.'"

On the way home from the club, however, Balsius was attacked by a man right outside his hotel. The man punched Balsius, who is in his 60s, across his face and then fled, leaving Balsius hurt and bleeding.

The police were called but none spoke English and they refused to make a report.

In 2010, the Associated Press reported that two soldiers were arrested for shooting a 19-year-old man during Rio's Gay Pride. The incident gained media attention because it occurred during one of Rio's largest public events.

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