Brazil's first gay leader vacates seat, will not return over death threats
Brasilia: Brazil’s first openly gay congressman Jean Wyllys, left his seat after receiving threats. Jean said on Thursday that he will not serve a new term due to death threats, as he considers his life more important than the designation.
Wyllys’ Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) said his seat in Brasilia will go to a substitute lawmaker Rio councilman David Miranda who is also gay.
The gay leader said that he is planning to live abroad as his life is quite dear to him. A legislative assistant in Brasilia confirmed that Wyllys will not return to Brazil from his present travels in Europe.
Wyllys said in a print interview that the atmosphere of violence prevalent in Brazil, had worsened since the October election of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has deprecated gays and other minorities. The country also accounts for the worst murder cases in the world.
The execution style murder of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, a fellow PSOL member had made him quite horrified. He said he was tired of living with bodyguards ever since Marielle was brutally murdered in 2018.
Jean reportedlysaid that it’s not just the election of Bolsonaro, but the intensity of violence that is aggravating day by day is causing negative implications on society.The presidential press office kept mum on this incident.
Wyllys told Folha said he was the target of constant death threats and defamatory campaigns on social media and got pushed in the street even with bodyguards.
“I don’t want to sacrifice myself,” he told Folha. “I want to take care of myself and stay the last straw, he said, were revelations that Bolsonaro’s son Flavio had employed on his Rio state assembly staff relatives of a fugitive former police officer suspected of involvement in Franco’s assassination in March.
Wyllys, 44, was a staunch advocate for gay rights and fought religious discrimination and violence against women during his two terms in Congress.
“To preserve one’s threatened life is also a strategy to fight for better days,” Wyllys said in interview.