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Getting naked to fight homophobia – NSFW

It might surprise you to learn that Brazil is not a safe place for the LGBT+ community.

The figures speak for themselves: According to the Los Angeles Times homophobic or transphobic attacks in Brazil number close to one a day.

LGBT rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia revealed that in 2014 326 lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals were killed in attacks; with the highest number of deaths occurring in São Paulo state.

To capture the worlds attention and raise awareness about what is happening in Brazil Felippe Canale and his boyfriend Marlon Moro went down to one of São Paulo’s avenues – Avenida Paulista – and took their clothes off.

We caught up with Felippe Canale and asked him: What was going through your mind when the pictures were being taken?

When we took the pictures, my boyfriend and I pretended the world was an ideal place in which we wouldn’t have to worry about public display of affection. We thought it would be okay to walk holding hands, to hug and even to kiss each other – something that every heterosexual couple can do everyday.

We undressed in order to get rid of prejudice and fear. We wanted to call people’s attention to a fact that affects thousands of gay people every year all around the world – homophobia. Physical and psychological abuse due to sexual orientation must stop.

What was it that inspired you?

A few videos that supposedly featured gay couples walking holding hands in Russia and Ukraine were recently released as an experiment on people’s reaction to them, and they were both abused just because they were showing affection.

According to the National Human Rights Bureau, every hour a gay person suffers some kind of abuse here, in Brazil. On the same avenue where we took the pictures – Avenida Paulista, one of the most important in Brazil – young gay boys were assaulted with lamps, punches and kicks in 2010.

It was all recorded by security cameras and, because it was reported in the press, the case caused a stir. This is certainly not a unique situation, and many other cases remain unknown because the victims are ashamed to report to the police.

What do you hope will happen now?

Homophobia still isn’t a crime in Brazil, which promotes the proliferation of cases of abuse and prejudice. Our politicians fear supporting the gay cause because a great part of the population is still very prejudiced.

The media tries to touch the subject by showing scenes of gay people kissing and showing affection on soap operas – which would supposedly be a way of evaluating the reaction of the audience – but in some cases these scenes are simply cut off.

When these scenes are actually aired, most people disapprove. Brazil still has a long way to go regarding this subject. I know this situation won’t change in a single day, but I hope I can make people think about it. Love must be free for everybody!

The full photo shoot of Felippe and Marlon features full frontal nudity and is available here.

Models Felippe Canale and Marlon Moro
Photographers Fábio Lamounier and Rodrigo Ladeira

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