Brazilian governor and presidential hopeful Eduardo Leite has come out as part of the LGBTQ+ community in a recent interview.
Sitting down with journalist Pedro Bial, the governor of Rio Grande do Sul opened up about his sexuality stating he has “nothing to hide.”
“I have never spoken about a subject related to my private life,” he explained.
“But during this moment of low integrity in Brazil, I have nothing to hide, I am gay. I am a governor who is gay, not a gay governor.
“As former President Obama in the U.S. was a president who was Black, not a Black president. And I am proud of that.”
With this reveal, the 36-year-old governor has made history as the first openly gay presidential candidate in Brazil.
Leite and his comments directly oppose the views of Brazil’s current President Jair Bolsonaro.
On Friday (2 July) Bolsonaro referred to Leite’s coming out as a “business card” for his campaign.
“I have nothing against his private life, but he cannot impose his lifestyle on others,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Bolsonaro has expressed anti-LGBTQ+ views.
Back in 2011, he told Playboy that he would be “incapable” of loving a gay son and said he would rather him “die in an accident.”
Over the years, Bolsonaro’s has continued to express his homophobic views. In 2013 he accused LGBTQ+ activists of trying to turn children into “gay adults to satisfy their sexuality in the future.”
Even with pushback from the current president, Leite has found support from activists and his political peers.
Brazil’s first openly gay senator, Fabiano Contarato took to Twitter to congratulate the presidential hopeful with a heartfelt statement.
“I congratulate Gov. Eduardo Leite for his bravery! I know the pain that prison in the closet is, especially in a conservative environment like Politics,” he said.
“Everyone must find the right moment for this… be happy and do your great work: life will be lighter!”
Parabenizo o gov. @EduardoLeite_ pela bravura! Sei a dor que é a prisão do armário, sobretudo num ambiente conservador como a Política, e cada um deve descobrir seu momento certo para esse gesto. Seja feliz e siga seu ótimo trabalho: a vida será mais leve! https://t.co/R0Mg5SZLq7
— Fabiano Contarato (@ContaratoSenado) July 2, 2021
Leite is a member of the social democratic party PSDB, which supported Bolsonaro in 2018. Leite became a critic of the president after his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 36-year-old is expected to participate in the PSDB primaries this November – which will choose the candidate to run in the 2022 election.