Brazil: Cleides Amorim, a professor at the Federal University of Tocantins, was one of over a dozen LGBT Brazilians murdered in just the first two weeks of 2012. AllOut started a national campaign aimed at Federal Government, inspired by a protest letter from a group of professors of Brazilian universities. Read the letter below.
> Check out the campaign page at AllOut.org (in portuguese only).
Letter of protest against the murder of Professor Cleides Antônio Amorim (UFT)
This is a time of mourning.
Once again, the public expression one’s difference resulted in the increase on hates crime statistics in Brazil. Cleides Antônio Amorim, a tenured professor at the Federal University of Tocantins was victimized by a brutal homophobic crime. He was murdered on January 5, 2012 in the city of Tocantinópolis, in the State of Tocantins,
We could mourn his death in silence, keeping the pain and sadness solely to ourselves. However, resorting to the same words we use to that express our deep sadness, we want to break through the Brazilian state code of silence in relation to sexuality related hate crimes in the country.
In signing this document, university professors and educators at all levels, who live in different parts of Brazil invite civil society voices from all around the world to take action. We will no longer remain silent. We are mourning together and collectively we are struggling for equality and equal treatment under the law. We are mourning professor Cleides but also all gays, lesbians and transgender persons who have been victims of murder, violence and other forms of abuse in Brazil.
Enough is enough! We declare our commitment to struggle against the marginalization systematically imposed on us, on our individualities, subjectivities, bodily expressions, thoughts, behavior. We must have the right to express ourselves and exert our citizenship in every public space . Our right to freely express ourselves and exercise our citizenship must be guaranteed on the streets, in the work places, in schools, in universities, in health services, in all private and public spaces.
We are protesting against the disappointing silence of Brazilian authorities in the face of cruelty of crimes and abuses perpetrated against those persons whose sexual expression or identity does not conform to the dominant heterosexual norms. A government that silences when facing the human rights abuses affecting our communities, as the hideous murder of Cleides Amorim, is a government that just protect a few, but not all citizens. We are also contesting the political agreements established between president Dilma Rousseff administration and religious dogmatic leaders from diverse traditions.
In our view, this pact and the president’s silence in face of violations compromise the democratic and secular principles of the Brazilian state. As we see it, moral dogmas in relation to gender and sexuality deployed by these religious voices is one main factor behind the escalation of hate crimes and other forms of abuse affecting our communities we have witnessed more recently. Professor Cleides Amorim was the last victim, simply because, as a Brazilian citizen, he has decided to live out of the compulsory heterosexual model cynically imposed in our society. Yes, we live our lives differently. We will continue to be and to behave differently from imposed norms.
We are struggling for the full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender citizens. We deserve to live without fear in a country that is proud of its diversity and respectful of equal rights. We request the Brazilian state to take urgent and effective measures against the escalation of homophobic hate crimes and to take the necessary measures for a legislation aimed at criminalizing homophobic crimes. We also demand the implementation of public policies to prevent these crimes, other forms of violence and discrimination. We demand the Brazilian state to review its compliance with moral principles advocated by religious dogmatic forces.
More urgently yet, we request the Brazilian state, in the person of President Dilma Rousseff, to take immediate action to investigate, prosecute and punish the murderer of professor Cleides Amorim and to adopt continuing measures to prevent the incitement to hate and violence. We invite you all to share with us the mourning (LUTO) and to join us in this struggle (LUTA).