Brazilian musician shines light on intersection of sexuality and Judaism

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04/29/2021

Brazil is a diverse and complex country. For 32-year-old Assucena Assucena, who is trans and Jewish (of Moroccan and Sephardic descent), that complexity is intensified. To be Jewish in Brazil already means that you’re one of an estimated 120,000 Jews living in a predominantly Catholic country with a deep history of antisemitism. But to be trans can be outright dangerous. Not only does Brazil have a loud and proud homophobic and far-right president — Jair Bolsonaro claimed “homosexual fundamentalists” were brainwashing heterosexual children to “become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future” in a 2013 interview — but also, in 2020, more trans people were killed in Brazil than anywhere else in the world for the 12th consecutive year.

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