Far right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who once described himself as “homophobic — and very proud of it,” tweeted out a sexually explicit video featuring two men who were participating in Carnival festivities.
Bolsonaro, who used his first day in office to remove LGBTQ issues from consideration under the Ministry of Women, Family, and Human Rights, used the video of the men performing sexual acts as an opportunity to create a connection between sexual orientation and immorality.
“I don’t feel comfortable showing it, but we have to expose the truth to the population knowing and always taking their priorities,” Bolsonaro wrote, according to a translated version of the tweet. “This is what has turned many street blocks in the Brazilian carnival.”
Those who participated in Carnival festivities around Brazil protested Bolsonaro’s far-right presidency. Crowds mounted strong opposition to him by promoting a hashtag that translates to #GetScrewedBolsonaro, and chants against him frequently broke out. A group of people also protested at the president’s home in Rio de Janeiro, according to local Brazilian media outlet Folha de S.Paulo.
Amid a wave of nationwide criticism against his administration, Bolsonaro has only fanned the flames of political divisions. In a tweet on March 11, he blasted “the leftist ideology that divides to conquer and praise socialism and mock capitalism.”
“In this context, the formation of citizens is forgotten and the conquest of political militants is prioritize[d],” he added.
Bolsonaro, whose rise to power as a conservative populist has drawn comparisons to the emergence of US President Donald Trump, will meet his American counterpart in Washington on March 19. Ahead of the meeting, Democratic Congressmembers Susan Wild of Pennsylvania and Ro Khanna of California wrote a letter signed by 28 other lawmakers asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to stress the importance of human rights in Brazil.
“Since the election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president, we have been particularly alarmed by the threat Bolsonaro’s agenda poses to the LGBTQ+ community and other minority communities, women, labor activists, and political dissidents in Brazil,” the letter said.
Among other concerns raised by the members of Congress include the Bolsonaro administration’s recent admission that it would be removing LGBTQ-related references from public school textbooks.