Call for a 'heterosexual pride' day mocked in Brazil

  • 27 February 2015
A man addressing the camera. The word 'Heterofobia' appears on the screen. Image copyright Põe Na Roda
Image caption In the video a gay man jokingly speaks out against 'heterophobia'

When a senior Brazilian politician said there should be a "heterosexual pride" day, many in the country took offence. Now a video parodying the idea is proving popular on YouTube.

If you're straight, and live in Brazil, you may want to keep 3 December free. That's the day Eduardo Cunha wants to turn into an annual celebration of heterosexuality. He's the president of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies - the lower house of the nation's parliament - and a controversial figure in Brazilian politics. He first proposed the idea forward in 2011 to no avail, but earlier this month he asked the government to consider it again.

Now a group of YouTubers - taking Cunha's suggestion with a pinch of salt - have run with the idea, producing a film listing fictional problems faced by straight people, and reiterating the politician's call for action. It's been a hit, racking up more than 110,000 views in just a few days. In one scene we see the silhouette of a man whose voice is heavily distorted to protect his identity. "I've suffered prejudice for being heterosexual, and just yesterday I was taken prisoner," he says. "I think the police were discriminating against me." In another, a campaigner tells us "A straight pride day will ensure the heterosexual minority have the same rights already granted to gays".

Pedro Henrique Mendes Castilho, head of the group Põe Na Roda which made the film, spoke to BBC Trending and said the whole aim was to send up Cunha's views. "There's no reason for straight people to have their own day," he says. "They have all the rights, they are not a minority group. I made the video in an ironic way to criticise [Cunha]."

Image copyright Põe Na Roda
Image caption A spoof 'anonymous' figure describes the perils of heterosexuality

The film has prompted a heated debate. Many of those commenting found it amusing, "Perfect!" wrote one, and "very funny, as always," said another. But several less sympathetic views appear in the thread. "Gays... want to overrule the rights of others," one said.

Cunha's remarks are seen by his supporters as a way to preserve tradition in a rapidly changing country. But he also has a reputation as a controversial character with a penchant for inflammatory remarks. An opinion piece in the Folha de Sao Paulo says he has long referred to homosexuals as "heterophobes". And on Twitter he warns Evangelical Christians to defend themselves against attacks from gay people and pro-abortion advocates.

The politics of sexual identity are particularly complex in Brazil. On the one hand, the public health system provides sex-change operations, while on the other, abortion remains illegal. And in government, outspoken politicians like Cunha exist alongside more progressive voices.

Blog by Sam Judah

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