Connect with us

World

Brazil governor, presidential candidate comes out as gay

Eduardo Leite hopes to challenge President Jair Bolsonaro

Published

on

Eduardo Leite (Twitter photo)

PELOTAS, Brazil — The governor of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state came out as gay on July 1 during an interview with a late-night talk show host.

“I am gay, I am gay,” Eduardo Leite told “Conversa Com Bial” host Pedro Bial. “I am a governor who is gay, not a gay governor, like Obama in the United States was a president who was Black, not a Black president, and I’m proud of that.”

“I didn’t bring this issue up, but I never denied who I am. I never created a character,” added Leite. “I didn’t try to make people believe in something different, and I am proud of this integrity.”

Leite also told Bial that he has been with his boyfriend — a doctor from Espírito Santo state — for nine months.

“I have enormous admiration and love for him,” said Leite.

Leite, 36, is the first openly gay governor in Brazil’s history.

He is a member of the center-left Brazilian Social Democracy Party. Leite has governed Rio Grande do Sul, which is Brazil’s southernmost state, since 2019.

Leite endorsed President Jair Bolsonaro, despite his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and vocal opposition to marriage equality and other issues, during the second round of Brazil’s 2018 presidential election.

Leite has sharply criticized Bolsonaro over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Leite is running in his party’s primaries in November, which will choose the candidate who will challenge Bolsonaro in next year’s presidential election.

Toni Reis, president of Aliança Nacional LGBTI+, a Brazilian LGBTQ advocacy group, on Monday described Leite’s coming out to the Los Angeles Blade as a “courageous act, particularly in a state (Rio Grande do Sul) that has a very strong ‘machista’ culture with strong dividing lines between the roles expected of males and females.” Reis also noted Leite recently attended Aliança National LGBTI+ Rio Grande do Sul Coordinator Dani Boeira’s wedding.

“He’s still in the ‘primaries’ of his political party, along with another three possible presidential candidates in the same party, which is center-left,” Reis told the Blade. “Nevertheless, coming out was probably a wise step to take in order to prevent his being gay being used against him in the campaign period should he get to be a candidate.” 

“The positive visibility he has given to being gay is very important for the Brazilian LGBTI+ community,” added Reis. “He’s openly supportive of LGBTI+ issues, but is more aligned with the center than the left, given his political party.”

Rio Grande do Sul Gov. Eduardo Leite, center, with Aliança Nacional LGBTI+ Rio Grande do Sul Coordinator Dani Boeira, right, at Boeira’s wedding to his husband. (Photo courtesy of Aliança Nacional LGBTI+ President Toni Reis)

Ricardo Sales, founder of Mais Diversidade, a São Paulo-based consultancy that promotes diversity and inclusion throughout Latin America, also applauded Leite.

“It is important that the governor of one of the biggest states of the country come out,” Sales told the Blade on Saturday.

Sales, nevertheless, noted Leite’s decision to back Bolsonaro for president.

“I hope, now that Eduardo is out of the closet, he can promote the agenda of LGBT rights,” said Sales.

Sales also noted Fatima Bezerra, the governor of Rio Grande do Norte state, in a July 2 tweet appeared to publicly acknowledge she is an LGBTQ Brazilian.

“There have never been closets in my public or private life,” tweeted Bezerra. “I have always noted my positions through my political activities; without ever erasing myself in the fight against machismo, racism, LGBTphobia and any other type of oppression and violence.”

Reuters reported Bolsonaro accused Leite of wanting to use his coming out as a “business card” for his presidential campaign.

“I have nothing against his private life, but he cannot impose his lifestyle on others,” Bolsonaro told his supporters, according to Reuters.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Russia

Brittney Griner appeals 9-year prison sentence in Russia

Russian court on Aug. 4 convicted WNBA star of drug smuggling.

Published

on

A Brittney Griner mural in D.C. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

MOSCOW — Lawyers for WNBA star Brittney Griner on Monday appealed the nine-year prison sentence she received earlier this month after a Russian court convicted her of smuggling drugs into the country.

The court on Aug. 4 convicted Griner — a Phoenix Mercury center and two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife, Cherelle Griner — and sentenced her to nine years in a penal colony.

Officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February detained Brittney Griner after customs inspectors allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage. The State Department subsequently determined that Russia “wrongfully detained” her.

Brittney Griner in July pleaded guilty to the drug smuggling charges.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has publicly acknowledged the U.S. has offered Russia a deal to secure the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, another American citizen who is serving a 16-year prison sentence after his conviction for spying.

American officials have reportedly expressed a willingness to release Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S., as part of a prisoner swap.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week said his country was “ready to discuss” a potential deal with the U.S. A spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry later confirmed negotiations between the two countries over a potential prisoner swap have begun.

Continue Reading

Asia

WorldPride 2025 in Taiwan cancelled

“Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, due to political considerations, has unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus”

Published

on

Taipei Pride October, 2014 (Photo by Andy Lain 多元的台灣 2014彩虹大遊行)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwanese organizers of the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan will not hold the event after InterPride, a global LGBTQ rights group, refused to let the Taiwanese organizers use the island nation’s name in the event title.

WorldPride Taiwan 2025 was initially slated to be hosted by the southern city of Kaohsiung after the Taiwan Preparation Committee, consisting of representatives from Kaohsiung Pride and Taiwan Pride, had their bid accepted by InterPride, a global LGBTQ rights group.

 A-Ku (阿古), co-chairman of the local WorldPride Taiwan 2025 organizing committee told media outlets that InterPride had recently “suddenly” asked them to change the name of the event to “Kaohsiung,” removing the word “Taiwan.”

“After careful evaluation, it is believed that if the event continues, it may harm the interests of Taiwan and the Taiwan gay community. Therefore, it is decided to terminate the project before signing the contract,” said the co-chair in a statement.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) helped organize a tripartite meeting with InterPride and Kaohsiung Pride on Nov. 16, 2021 during which the three parties agreed upon the name Taiwan, A-Ku told Focus Taiwan/CNA News English.

Despite this, InterPride subsequently announced in a letter dated July 26 that, based on a vote by the directors and supervisors, the event must be named either “WorldPride Kaohsiung” or “Kaohsiung WorldPride,” A-Ku said.

He also noted that InterPride’s assertion that it had suggested using the name “WorldPride Kaohsiung, Taiwan” was “completely inconsistent with the facts.”

A-Ku added that the name “WorldPride Taiwan 2025” had been used throughout the entire bidding process from the beginning of 2021, including on application forms, plans, and other relevant documents.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry released a statement noting that the event would have been the first WorldPride event to be held in East Asia.

“Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, due to political considerations, has unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus and broken a relationship of cooperation and trust, leading to this outcome,” the statement said adding;

“Not only does the decision disrespect Taiwan’s rights and diligent efforts, it also harms Asia’s vast LGBTIQ+ community and runs counter to the progressive principles espoused by InterPride.”

Taiwan had legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, “On May 17th, 2019 in Taiwan, Love Won,” tweeted President Tsai Ing-wen at the time. “We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country.”

The island nation’s recognition of same-sex marriage is a first for Asia, and Taiwan is proud of its reputation as a central bastion of LGBTQ rights and liberalism in Asia.

WorldPride 2025 Taiwan’s full statement:

Statement on Project Termination of Hosting WorldPride Taiwan 2025》

The WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee would like to express our sincere gratitude for all the generous support we have received since winning the bid to host WorldPride 2025 in Taiwan. After months of preparation and collaboration with various government departments and corporate enterprises, it is a great pity to announce that the project of WorldPride Taiwan 2025 has been terminated.

When discussing and negotiating the event contract’s terms and conditions, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee (consisting of Taiwan Pride and Kaohsiung Pride) was unable to reach a consensus with InterPride, the event licensor. There were major discrepancies between our stances on the event’s naming, understandings of Taiwan’s culture, and expectations of what a WorldPride event should look like.

In the back-and-forth discussions, InterPride repetitively raised their concerns and doubts about whether Taiwan has the capacity, economic and otherwise, to host an international event like WorldPride. This is despite our team consisting of highly competent Pride organizers who have successfully organized some of the largest Pride events in Asia. Although we have presented past data and relevant statistics to prove our track record, we were still unable to convince InterPride. However hard we have tried to cooperate, our efforts did not result in an equal and trusting working partnership with the event licensor.

The final straw that led the negotiation to a deadlock was the abrupt notice from InterPride, requiring the name of the event to change from “WorldPride Taiwan 2025” to “WorldPride Kaohsiung 2025”. This is despite the fact that the name “WorldPride Taiwan 2025” was used throughout the entire bidding process: From the bid application and the bid proposal evaluation to the voting process and the winner announcement back in 2021.

We had made it clear to InterPride that there are some significant reasons why we insist on using the name “WorldPride Taiwan 2025”. First, the name “Taiwan Pride” is of symbolic significance to the Taiwanese LGBTIQ+ community as it has been used for Taiwan’s first and still ongoing Pride parade since the first edition in 2003. It was not named after the city but the nation as a whole. Second, WorldPride Taiwan 2025 was planned to connect several Pride events and activities across Taiwan, with many cities, in addition to Kaohsiung, participating.

After the winner announcement, upon reading InterPride’s congratulatory letter which mistakenly named Taiwan as a region instead of a country, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) helped organize a tripartite meeting with InterPride and KH Pride on November 16 2021. In the meeting, the three parties (MOFA, InterPride, KH Pride) agreed on using “WorldPride Taiwan 2025” as the name for all the sequential events and activities. However, during the recent contract negotiation, InterPride suddenly made it a requirement that WorldPride 2025 can only be named after the host city rather than the country (“WorldPride Kaohsiung 2025” instead of “WorldPride Taiwan 2025”). This unexpected requirement essentially reneges on the previously made agreement.

In the face of many uncertainties such as InterPride’s inconsistent attitude toward the event naming and doubts about our team and the Taiwan market, we have to make the painful decision to terminate the project of hosting WorldPride 2025 in order to strive for the best interest of the LGBTIQ+ community in Taiwan. The WorldPride 2025 Preparation Committee will also resign to take responsibility for failing to host the event.

We would like to express our most profound appreciation to everyone who has supported us. We are especially grateful for the continuous assistance and resources provided by Taiwan’s Presidential Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We promise that the termination of hosting WorldPride Taiwan 2025 will not undermine our motivation to serve the LGBTIQ+ community. We will continue to promote Taiwan’s LGBTIQ+ culture worldwide.

The WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee

2022/08/12

Continue Reading

Mexico

U.S. Consulate warns Americans avoid travel to Tijuana as violence erupts

The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana: Officials are aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, & heavy police activity in Tijuana

Published

on

Burning vehicle in Tijuana (Photo Credit: Screenshot Twitter video)

TIJUANA, Baja California, Mexico – The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana issued an alert to American citizens after threats and two days of violence by a regional drug cartel in this popular tourist destination south of San Diego. Officials also warned its personnel to shelter in place.

In a message the U.S. Consulate General Tijuana wrote that officials are aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate. U.S. government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice.

Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda tweeted: “We will apply all the strength of our government so that there is peace and we find those responsible for these attacks.”

Media outlets in San Diego and Baja California are reporting that the violence started Thursday in a Ciudad Juarez prison after the Sinaloa Cartel, once led by the infamous Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and a local group, Los Mexicles, began feuding. The riot left two dead and 16 injured before breaking out into the streets. At that time a shelter in place order was issued.

That violence has now spread to other parts of the country including Tecate, Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Mexicali, and Ensenada in Baja California.

On Friday, cartel soldiers set multiple vehicles on fire, set up multiple road blockades and engaged in shootouts with Mexican security forces. Residents of Tecate, Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Mexicali, and Ensenada are sharing videos of burnt vehicles in the street on various social media platforms.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular