Church Pressure Causes Brazilian President to Halt Distribution of School Anti-Homophobia Kits

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff appeared to cave to pressure from evangelical church groups this week when she suspended the distribution of gay and lesbian-inclusive sex education and anti-homophobia materials in schools. Church groups reportedly said they would urge their political allies to block all upcoming legislation if Rousseff didn’t halt production of the anti-homophobia kits.

A spokesperson for the President told the media that after personally viewing the materials the President was unhappy with some of the content and believed it did not offer an “objective” view of homosexuality.

From the BBC:

The education packs contain gay and lesbian video scenes and are supposed to combat homophobia.

However, evangelical church groups and their allies in Congress threatened to block any upcoming legislation unless President Rousseff halted the films.

A government spokesman said President Rousseff had viewed the material personally and decided to suspend its distribution.

“She didn’t like what she saw,” Gilberto Carvalho said.

He said President Rousseff was unhappy with the footage and believed it did not offer an objective picture of homosexuality.

The “anti-homophobia kits”, as they are known in Brazil, were about to be rolled out by Brazil’s ministry of health and the ministry of education.

Several members of Brazil’s chamber of deputies with strong evangelic Christian beliefs said the sex education packs encouraged homosexual behaviour.

LGBT rights groups in the country say they are particularly disappointed by this move as many voted for President Rousseff due to her commitment to human rights.

They warn that if Rousseff does not make a u-turn LGBT voters will be urged to not vote for her in future.

A unanimous supreme court decision earlier this year appeared to pave the way for the legalization of civil unions, however action has not been taken to recognize the institution so far.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

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Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

federico bortoletto


Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

Darn those church groups!!!

Don Go
Don Go4 years ago

Hm. This is an interesting controversy... because if it does contain scenes of homosexuality, it would be a bit "encouraging" rather than "educational"

Perhaps what the president should've done is announced a stall of it's release instead of canceling it, so that they can work out a way of making it more objective.

Luc A.
Luc A.4 years ago

still @ TOM Y. Research results link, just in case:

Luc A.
Luc A.4 years ago

@Tom Y. My point is freedom of speech is supposed to be guaranteed in Brazil. So is freedom of creed. But Brazil is a lay/secular country as stated in its Constitution so (pseudo) religions can't impose their views on others, mainly when it contributes to discrimination, inequality and violence against part of the population. Now research shows that 87% of Brazilians discriminate against LGBT population and 40% of male teenagers have declared not willing to study with LGBT. Check these videos gratuitous youth violence against people who “look like” gays. (That could be you or me, depending on the eye of the beholder.) Now, you “suspect” the material “contained an inordinate amount of sexuality”. That's precisely what I am criticizing. (You can check the material here for yourself. ) Prejudiced people have a tendency to suppose things without checking facts and use their fears to cling to an unfair status quo, where they feel like future victims of a system change that would only include others as equals. What society call “gays” are humans like others who go about working and paying taxes and can feature exemplar civil behavior.
If you prefer, read about the 100.000-person temples being built around the country and how churches dangerously compete for 'size”. Or about how the religious leaders lie to advance their agenda:

Wioletta S.
Wioletta S.4 years ago

it's sad that teacher didn't saw this first

Tom Y.
Tom Y.4 years ago

I'm glad to see the Church in action -- if Dilma Rousseff wins their support, they'll far excel the gay rights crowd as a voting bloc. I suspect the sex-ed materials contained an inordinate amount of adult sexuality imposing itself on impressionable youth, and for what? The goal in schools, besides education, should be the protection of the individual student by curbing the aggression and heartless behavior of others -- not by dividing students into groups and then extending arbitrary favors to Group X because an outside group of one-issue agitators complained. By its numbers, the Church in Brazil is far more representative of the mainstream. Respect for minority rights is granted, but in popularity will still depend on the civil behavior of that minority toward everyone else.

Luc A.
Luc A.4 years ago

An obscurantist wave has hit Brazil since the last elections last year. Looking for clout in the new government, religious rightist groups offered their voting base in the tight runoff election. In exchange, they demanded the government halted the human rights agenda with themes like gay's or women's rights. Pentecostal churches are thriving in Brazil mainly in the more uneducated classes. Evangelical denominations, radio stations and TV networks are sprouting quickly all over the country. The number of evangelical deputies in the Lower House rose from barely 20 to 74 (out of 513) in the last decade, not to mention the Catholic band.
But what is appalling is that this advance is not about saving souls but getting power using unscrupulous methods. They've discovered that using “the gays” as a scapegoat is a very smart way to create fervor among the masses. So they set up a new crusade and other state congressmen are jumping on the bandwagon. Deputies such as Bolsonaro, Garotinho and senator Magno Malta use lies that have great appeal to the masses (available on Youtube) like saying that after the Supreme Court legalized civil union, young men are asking pre-teens to kiss them or that the gays have a national plan to turn Brazil into a homosexual nation. They even showed the president misleading material so she would bar the sex educational material. From the comments you see how the vast majority is buying their arguments and expressing increasing hate against homo

David M.
Eva Daniher4 years ago

Remember that many high level and influential religious people are not interested in anything but power and wouldn't recognise Jesus message if he delivered it to them in person.