During his presidential campaign, Jair Bolsonaro once said: “minorities should bend to the majority—or they will be crushed.” The rise of the far-right politician to the country’s highest office has sparked fear among many minority groups, especially LGBTQ people. Last year, Brazil recorded 420 deaths as a result of homophobia or transphobia, according to NGO Grupo Gay da Bahia. While the number is disputed, one thing is certain: Brazil is not very tolerant when it comes to sexuality. The Supreme Court could, however, try to curb such crimes this week.
Today, Brazil’s highest court will continue a trial on whether homophobia and transphobia should be considered crimes. While a clearly noble cause, the trial is anything but simple. It is less about whether intolerance based on sexuality and gender should be fought, and more about whether the Supreme Court would be stepping on the toes of Congress. After all, it is the Congress’ job to legislate—especially on criminal matters, when offenses result in fines, sanctions, and possibly jail time.