The Brazilian president is well known for his homophobia.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has issued a rare apology after he claimed that a reporter had the “face of a homosexual.” His remark came after the reporter asked him about an investigation into his eldest son for alleged money laundering.
Responding to the question, Bolsonaro said: “You have the face of a homosexual, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to accuse you of being a homosexual.”
His comments drew criticism across the board, with Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, one of the country’s largest newspapers, writing in an editorial that Bolsonaro lacked “the necessary decorum for the job” adding that his actions “shames citizens and compromises the country’s reputation.”
News website G1 reports that Bolsonaro has issued a rare, albeit small, apology for his comments, simply saying: “I was wrong. I shouldn’t have said it.”
In the past, Bolsonaro has said he’d rather his son die in an accident than be gay, and in an interview with Playboy, he said he “would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.”
He added: “If a gay couple came to live in my building, my property will lose value. If they walk around holding hands, kissing, it will lose value!”
He has also claimed that he doesn’t want his country to become a “gay tourism paradise.” In an interview with Exame magazine, he said: “If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life.
“But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”
His comments then were also widely condemned, with David Miranda, one of the few openly LGBTQ politicians in Brazil, saying: “This is not a head of state – this is a national disgrace. He is staining the image of our country in every imaginable way.”
Lawyer and activist Renan Quilalha said: “It is a disastrous declaration, both from the human rights point of view and with regards to Brazil’s international image.
“All this demonstrates is … something that he has made consistently clear over nearly 30 years of public life: that he is a homophobe.”
Both of them shared concerns that Bolsonaro’s comments effectively gave a “green light” to violence against the LGBTQ community, with Miranda adding that it put “a target on their backs” as well as risking the sexual exploitation of women in Brazil.