With Brazil’s Bolsonaro attacking the Supreme Court, are gay rights at risk?

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07/19/2020

As a gay man growing up in Brazil, Afif Sarhan was banned from donating blood for most of his life. “I thought, ‘Why is my blood inferior to others?’” Sarhan, a 41-year-old public servant from the centre-west state of Goias, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It’s my right as a human being to help people and still be who I am.” That all changed in May when Brazil’s top court overturned the ban on gay men giving blood – the latest in more than half a dozen rulings it has made in favour of LGBT+ rights. For years, the courts have been the main driver of LGBT+ gains in Brazil, with little action from Congress in a deeply religious country where both the Catholic Church and the popular evangelical Christian movement frequently criticise gay rights.

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