Bolsonaro, Putin, and the horrors of ‘Gay Propoganda’

In the case of Brazil, queerness finds itself as the blatant enemy of President Jair Bolsonaro. Unlike Graham, Bolsonaro doesn’t face rumors about his sexuality, largely because Bolsonaro is “proudly” homophobic; a trait he uses for his own political gain. Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that he has a particular vision for Brazil: a heterosexual, predominately white, haven of traditional family values. In one instance, he attacked a reporter who asked him about a corruption scandal by saying they “look terribly like a homosexual.” Brazilian congressman David Miranda claims that Bolsonaro “puts a target on the back of all LGBTQ+ people.”

What’s more, Bolsonaro is seemingly rewarded for his blatant homophobia. By using queerness as an enemy of traditional Brazil, he is pandering to his conservative base, largely influenced by the fast growing evangelical lobby. In traditional evangelical views; whether you’re living in the US or Brazil, queerness and LGBTQ+ rights are not promoted nor protected. Thus, with his anti-queer rhetoric, Bolsonaro is garnering the evangelicals increasingly powerful support in Brazil. Not only does Bolsonaro use queerness to activate the evangelical lobby in Brazil, but also throughout Latin America as the continent is predominantly Christian. In addition to new political arenas in Latin America, the United States possesses an extremely powerful evangelical lobby that in turn advocates for the inclusion of Bolsonaro on the international stage. Consequently, Bolsonaro’s blatant attacks on the element of queerness in Brazil has furthered his favorability towards a growing conservative base of evangelical groups around the world. 

Similar to Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin is also affected by queer pressure. In 2013, Russia passed a ‘gay propoganda’ law that greatly limits the accessability of education, healthcare, and legal justice for LGBTQ+ people. In addition, Putin has proposed a constitutional referendum that would ultimately ban same-sex marriage. The politically charged ‘gay propaganda’ law had the intention of solidifying the conservative base under Putin while the referendum is aiming at driving turnout for another referendum that would extend Putin’s term. The international implication that comes from these moves is the global position Russia assumes as a champion of “traditional values.” Through the perspective of several Eastern European and Middle Eastern nations, Russia is the closest thing to a global superpower that holds similar social values. Anti-queer, ‘gay-propoganda’ laws push a narrative that garner support for Russia on the international level. Nations such as Poland, Hungary, Syria, and Iran, who either don’t recognize same-sex marriage or even criminalize queer activity, see Russia as a global power that shares their social beliefs. Putin’s actions have further driven the divide between the aforementioned nations and the West. This, in turn, forges greater influence and power for Putin. 

Come back tomorrow for more Queer Pressure!

Wesley Swan

Team Member of Communications