Brazilian President Bolsonaro sparks outrage over his homophobic statement

WION Web Team Brasilia, Brazil Nov 11, 2020, 08.08 AM(IST)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil  Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the virus comparing the new coronavirus to a 'little flu' and asserted that Brazilians' immune systems were so strong they could swim in raw sewage and 'not catch a thing'

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sparked outrage and drew criticism over his homophobic outburst for telling Brazilians not to deal with Covid-19 like "a country of fags".

In his latest controversial statement, the far-right leader hit out at hysteria over the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that "all of us are going to die one day" and to "stop being a country of sissies".

Also see: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro and his 'non-normal' antics

"All anyone talks about these days is the pandemic. We need to stop that," said Bolsonaro during the speech, which was ostensibly on tourism.

"I regret the deaths. I really do. But we're all going to die someday. There's no use fleeing reality. We have to stop being a country of fags.... We have to face up to it and fight. I hate this faggot stuff."

Also read: Brazilian mayor asks Bolsonaro to 'resign, shut up, and stay at home' as death toll mounts

His comments triggered immediate outcry from critics.

"Between 'gunpowder' and 'fags,' we have more than 160,000 dead in the country," tweeted the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia.

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"Our solidarity to all the friends and family of victims of Covid-19."

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Bolsonaro is a longstanding enemy of Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community and during three decades in politics has made no secret of his homophobia.

Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the virus comparing the new coronavirus to a "little flu" and asserted that Brazilians' immune systems were so strong they could swim in raw sewage and "not catch a thing."

Brazil reported 25,012 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 201 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

The South American country has registered 5,700,044 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 162,829, according to ministry data. It is the world's second most fatal outbreak after the United States.

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