Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that homophobic slurs are now punishable by prison, in a decision applauded by rights activists in a country with rampant violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
The 9-1 ruling puts homophobic hate speech on the same legal level as racist hate speech, which was already punishable by prison in Brazil.
Justice Edson Fachin, the lead judge on the case, said in his ruling it was a “constitutional imperative” to give LGBTQ+ citizens equal protection under the law.
The court had ruled in 2019 that homophobia was a crime, just like racism.
But the earlier decision applied to slurs against the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, not attacks on specific individuals.
Rights group ABGLT brought the case to extend the legal protections further.
Hate speech is punishable by prison terms of two to five years in Brazil.
“Victory against LGBT-phobia,” transgender lawmaker Erika Hilton posted on social media, celebrating the ruling.
Rights groups registered 228 murders of LGBTQ+ people in Brazil last year.
The country of 203 million people is the deadliest in the world for trans people, according to the rights group Transgender Europe, with 1,741 murdered from 2008 to 2022.