Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he is proud to be a homophobe, is on course to be elected president of Brazil today, according to final opinion polls published last night.
In an Ibope opinion poll that was published last night, Bolsonaro was at 54 percent, compared to left-wing candidate Fernando Haddad’s 46 percent. A Datafolha poll put Bolsonaro at 55 percent and Haddad at 45 percent, according to the Guardian.
While the opinion polls show that Haddad has made gains and narrowed the gap, they also indicate that Bolsonaro has a strong lead, meaning he is likely to be elected president of Brazil in today’s election.
Bolsonaro has been a controversial figure in Brazil for many years for his homophobic and sexist remarks. He has also said he wants to relax gun control and wants to restore the death penalty.
If he wins, Bolsonaro will become Brazil’s first far-right president since the end of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
Meanwhile, his opponent, Fernando Haddad has renewed his focus on homophobia in his campaign, promising to criminalise homophobia and transphobia, as The Huffington Post Brasil reported.
He has attacked Bolsonaro for his views on women, minorities and LGBT+ people, saying the far-right leader has a “psychological problem.”
Bolsonaro has been making headlines across the world for many years for his comments, many of which have been focused on the LGBT+ community.
In 2015, he courted controversy when he said that hospital patients should have the option to reject “gay blood.”
He also told Playboy in 2011 that he would rather his son die than be gay, saying: “I would be incapable of loving a gay son. I prefer that he die in an accident.”
He also told TIME last month that he stood by comments he had previously made, where he said that if he saw two men kissing on the street, he would punch them.
In a 2013 interview with Stephen Fry, he said that “no father would ever take pride in having a gay son.”
Two years ago, in an interview with Ellen Page, he complained about what he claimed were growing numbers of gay people, saying: “Over time, due to liberal habit, drugs, with women also working, the number of homosexuals has really increased.”
He then once again implied that gay people make children gay, telling Page: “If your son starts hanging out with certain people with a certain behaviour, he’ll adopt that sort of behaviour. He’ll think it’s normal.”
More than 300 LGBT+ people have been killed in hate crimes in Brazil so far this year, meaning it could become the deadliest year on record for LGBT+ people in the country.
The survey by Brazil’s oldest LGBT watchdog, Grupo Gay da Bahia, also found that 713 anti-LGBT hate crimes — often in the categories of physical or psychological violence — have been recorded in 2018 up until mid-September.
A number of famous figures have come out against Bolsonaro since he announced his intention to run for president.
Stephen Fry recently called his hate speech “genuinely terrifying,” and said it would result in “more broken heads on pavement, more blood spilled, more torture, more killing, more unhappiness, less acceptance, more crying parents.
“That can’t be right,” he added.