The city council of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has passed a measure calling for an annual Heterosexual Pride Day to be celebrated each December.
Sao Paulo Gay Pride is the largest gay festival in the world and city alderman Carlos Apolinario, who authored the legislation, told journalists that his idea for a Heterosexual Pride Day is “not anti-gay but a protest against the privileges the gay community enjoys”.
The city’s mayor, Gilberto Kassab, has not yet signed the law. His spokesperson said he was considering the measure.
Mr Apolinaro has a long record of opposing LGBT rights. He has claimed that he is not homophobic, but is concerned that the Brazilian LGBT community is being offered special legal protections beyond what he considers appropriate for all Brazilian citizens.
As the debate over LGBT rights continues to rage in Brazil, the alderman recently complained that gay rights were being far more prominence than black rights.
He said: “The law must be equal for everyone, but we have seen for a while now is a deification of the gays, because the newspapers almost every day brings some matter on them, the government is concerned to discuss the matter up in schools, with children and adolescents, distributing booklets and videos.
“The impression is that the most important issue in the press, the courts, in Congress is the issue of so-called gay rights, the rights plan is treated with almost a dozen rights for gays.
“Not blacks, who are part of our history, have the same space in the media. The government also does not show any concern to combat racism in schools telling the story of blacks and their importance to our country
“In addition, we have many kinds of prejudice to be fought. What’s more, those who claim to defend gay rights, privileges actually argue as if the gay was a special category of people who are above the law.
The alderman has complained that the city’s massive Gay Pride Parade is staged on one of Sao Paulo’s main thoroughfares, Avenida Paulista, while the annual ‘March For Jesus,’ organised by evangelical groups, has routinely been denied permits and permission to use the same route.
He told reporters: “I respect gays and I am against any kind of aggression made against them. I have no trouble coexisting with gays as long as their behaviour is normal. I respect the gay and lesbian, because as a Christian, I learned the meaning and value of free will, but I disagree with the exclusivity that the government gives the gay community.
“These situations [Gay Pride] make homosexuals a special category of people. The way things are going, soon someone will present a project in Sao Paulo turning it into the gay capital of the country.”
The Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Association criticised the legislation, saying it could provoke homophobic violence.
In a statement, it said: “How many LGBTs will be attacked because of the message that only heterosexuality makes someone a moral person and a good citizen?
“The celebration of heterosexual pride is inappropriate because it belittles the just cause of the LGBT community,” the statement added. “Unlike homosexuals, heterosexuals are not discriminated against simply for being heterosexuals.”
In a recent report, the gay rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia said 260 gays were murdered last year in Brazil, up 113 per cent from five years earlier.