With the Republican primaries still raging on, it can be easy to focus on the homophobic rhetoric and hate-speech that defines efforts to provide equal rights for gays and lesbians in the US. However, this excellent article on Jean Wyllys reminds us the culture wars against rights for gays and lesbians is not just a part of American political discourse. Wyllys is the first openly-gay representative in Brazil’s Congress, and he constantly finds himself combating the hate-speech of evangelicals, social conservatives, and religious zealots in Brazil. It especially focuses on Wyllys’s role in countering the growing importance of evangelical churches, whose opposition not just to sexuality but to Afro-Brazilian religious and cultural practices that have been a part of the cultural fabric for centuries is playing an increasing role in shaping Brazilian culture, society, and politics. It’s a good article that provides a lot of insight into the struggles gays and lesbians face in confronting the hateful and misleading rhetoric of some increasingly-politicized evangelical leaders in Brazil, and it reminds us that the culture wars against gays and lesbians have made gains in Brazil, but still have a lot of way to go in terms of being accepted as equals.
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