More than a million people took part in Rio’s annual gay pride celebrations over the weekend.

On Sunday, mothers of gay men and lesbians opened the parade, which this year aimed to highlight homophobia in Brazilian society.

Rio’s 17th gay pride event was backed by the local government, with the mayor’s office distributing around 400,000 condoms.

LGBT group Grupo Arco-Iris says 266 people were killed in Brazil last year because of their sexual orientation – confirming Brazil’s position as the place with the most homophobic murders in the world.

Director Julio Moreira told AFP: “You know, most of the year, the GLBT population is sort of boxed up in the closet, hidden away and being kept from a lot of rights.

“So this is the moment to speak up, we are here. Even if we are dancing here at a party, this is a political act.”

International statistics compiled by the Trans Respect Monitoring Project showed that 45% of all transphobic killings took place in Brazil over the past year.