Gay pride revelers in Sao Paulo reclaim Brazil’s national symbols

The iconic yellow and green of Brazil’s flag mixed with a sea of rainbow-colored tutus, hand fans and drag queen hairdos at Sunday’s LGBTQ+ pride parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (鶹video by Masao Goto Filho and Andre Penner)

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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — The iconic yellow and green of Brazil’s flag mixed with a sea of rainbow-colored tutus, hand fans and drag queen hairdos at Sunday’s LGBTQ+ pride parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The annual event along Sao Paulo’s main thoroughfare is among the biggest gay pride celebrations in the world, attracting thousands of people to celebrate the sexual diversity in a country synonymous with street partying but where violence and discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community has surged in recent years.

A reveler poses for a photo during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (鶹Photo/Andre Penner)

A reveler poses for a photo during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (鶹Photo/Andre Penner)

While apparel is mostly optional, this year organizers made a special appeal for participants to wear green and yellow in a pointed rebuke to far-right followers of former President Jair Bolsonaro, who in recent time appropriated Brazil’s national symbols for themselves.

“We will march this afternoon to take back our flag and to show that Brazil will be better, it will be queer, butch, transvestite,” Erika Hilton, who in 2022 became one of two openly transgender people elected to Brazil’s congress, told a cheering crowd of revelers.

Participants carry a rainbow banner as thousands march in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (鶹Photo/Andre Penner)

Participants carry a rainbow banner as thousands march in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (鶹Photo/Andre Penner)

Although Brazil has pioneered LGBTQ+ rights in Latin America — transphobia was made a crime in 2019 — the country still has the largest number of trans and queer people murdered in the world.

Revelers strike poses during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Saturday, June 1, 2024. (鶹Photo/Andre Penner)

Revelers strike poses during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Saturday, June 1, 2024. (鶹Photo/Andre Penner)

In 2023, Brazil was responsible for reported murdered worldwide, according to Transgender Europe, which collects data globally. It was the 16th straight year Brazil led the list. ___

Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at /hub/latin-america