Sao Paulo stages world’s biggest pride parade

Source: Reuters
25 May 2008

Brazil’s gays stage huge parade against bias

By Claudia Fontoura

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – More than a million gays and transsexuals paraded in Brazil’s business capital Sao Paulo on Sunday in what was billed as the world’s largest gay march to urge an end to violence and discrimination.

DJs blasted dance music from trucks that drove up and down the city’s skyscraper-lined main avenue as people in the dense crowds danced and celebrated on a hot, sunny day, some wearing wigs, masks and carnival-style outfits.

“I don’t suffer prejudice because I’m usually very discreet but today I’m living the moment. Here in the center of Sao Paulo, for today, everyone can do what they like,” said Junior Antenor, 21, wearing a winged silver-and-white angel outfit.

Sao Paulo Pride 2008According to witnesses, the event attracted at least 1 million participants. Police declined to give an official crowd count although one officer on the scene estimated more than 3 million people took part and the Sao Paulo Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders Parade Association said attendance was more than 5 million.

This is the 12th year the parade has been staged.

Sao Paulo authorities and Brazilian oil firm Petrobras backed the event, which has become a big money-earner for the city and for tourism in Latin America’s biggest country.

“This is the diversity the country wants, the diversity that we have to foster as a country seeking a tourist niche among the gay community,” Tourism Minister Marta Suplicy, a former Sao Paulo mayor, said aboard one of the trucks.

The parade association is also supporting plans by Sao Paulo’s Commerce Federation, Fecomercio, to certify retailers and service providers who respect diversity of race, ethnic origin, physical difference and sexual orientation.

On a visit last year to Brazil, the world’s most populous Catholic country, Pope Benedict attracted fewer than 1 million when he spoke out against homosexuality and called for traditional family values to be reinforced.

Research consultants Insearch last year said gays in Brazil were above-average earners and spent more on leisure, but Fecomercio says 40 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenders suffer discrimination as consumers.

(Additional reporting by Stephanie Beasley; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

* * * * *

Sao Paulo Pride 2008

Source: The Press Association
26 May 2008

Millions attend gay pride pageant

Millions of people waving rainbow flags and wearing lavish Carnival costumes paraded in South America’s biggest city on Sunday to celebrate gay pride and demand an end to homophobia and sexism.

To the beat of music blasting from more than 20 sound trucks, gay men, lesbians and cross-dressers danced and cheered along the skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo’s financial heart.

Organisers estimated that about five million people attended the 12th annual Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade, traditionally one of the world’s biggest. Local authorities did not give a crowd estimate, but said millions were likely present.

“This is a great party, everyone mingles,” participant Cesar Alves said. “Everybody respects each other here.”

The parade caps a full week of attractions, including the Cultural Gay Fair, Gay Day and the International GLS Tourism Forum.

“We still see cases of homophobia in the country,” Brazilian Tourism Minister Marta Suplicy told the crowd from the top of a sound truck.

“We still don’t have a law making homophobia a crime, and that needs to change. Congress has to approve this law.”

Last year, at least three million people packed the streets of Sao Paulo for what organisers said was the world’s largest gay pride parade.

* * * * *

Sao Paulo Pride 2008

Source: Guardian Unlimited
28 May 2008

Pride of Brazil

Last weekend’s gay pride parade in Sao Paulo attracted several million people – far more than turned out last year to greet the pope

Comment by Conor Foley

Between three and five million people took part in Sao Paulo’s twelfth gay pride parade last weekend, making it the largest event of its kind anywhere in the world.

The organisers of the Pride, Associação da Parada do Orgulho GLBT (LGBT Pride Parade Association), “twinned” the event with Moscow Pride which was viciously attacked last year, as reported and experienced by Peter Tatchell here.

The Moscow Pride organiser, Nikolai Alekseev flew in from Russia to be awarded a Brazilian Pride’s “Citizen Award for Respecting Diversity” in a special ceremony last week.

Over the last 10 years, Sao Paulo’s LGBT Pride Parade has grown from 2,000 people in 1997 to being recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest Gay Pride event ever. The parade itself draws on Brazil’s colourful carnival reputation with 20 open-decked trucks carrying sound systems down the skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista, in the heart of Sao Paulo’s financial district.

The parade caps a full week of attractions, including the Cultural Gay Fair, Gay Day and the International GLS Tourism Forum, which are sponsored by the city’s tourism department and Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company. It also includes workshops and debates throughout the city that help to spread awareness about LGBT human rights and STD/Aids prevention.

Brazil has one of the most effective anti-HIV/Aids campaigns in the world, which prevented the type of epidemic that has devastated other developing countries. Although it is the world’s largest Catholic country, it has always had a very open attitude towards sexual activity. It has never criminalised same-sex sexual activity, for example, although it does not provide sexual minorities with protection against discrimination and violence, and has high recorded incidences of homophobic violence.

Brazil’s tourism minister, Marta Suplicy, a former Sao Paulo mayor, took part in the parade on one of its floats and said: “This is the diversity the country wants, the diversity that we have to foster as a country seeking a tourist niche among the gay community.” The parade attracts nearly 330,000 tourists to the city, who bring in a revenue of about $115m to the city. However, only around 5% of these tourists come from abroad, mainly from the United States and other parts of Latin America.

Suplicy also called for the Brazilian Congress to pass a law making homophobia a crime, and said: “We still see cases of homophobia in the country. That needs to change.” Suplicy is a prominent member of the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) and is being widely tipped as a potential successor to President Lula.

The law that she is proposing is being fiercely resisted by religious politicians, and it is becoming a serious political issue in the country. On a visit last year to Brazil, Pope Benedict spoke out against homosexuality and called for traditional family values to be reinforced. Organisers of the LGBT event, which was officially themed as “Homophobia Kills! Defending the Secular State”, were quick to point out that fewer than one million had turned out for the papal visit, far fewer than attended last weekend’s pride event.


1 Response to “Sao Paulo stages world’s biggest pride parade”

  1. 1 Jen Morey 15 November 2008 at 9:13 am

    Sure beats the SF parades in size!

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