Uncivil Brazil

Isn’t it good when Friday comes full of pleasant ideas and desires for the weekend? It’s wonderful to write about lovely things on this day – it’s like a nice preamble for the free hours to come.

Not this time, though.

Intolerance has hit me and I felt it was more meaningful to debate it rather than just ignoring facts, as so many people (myself included) so often do.

Situated somewhere along the line between disapproval, shame and utter disgust, intolerance is nevertheless present in most people’s everyday lives. Be it race, religion, opinion or sexual orientation, one is more often that not faced with feelings of unwelcomeness towards others. Perpretrators or sufferers, the dislike of someone else for their difference is something most humans have known in their lives.

Which brings me to me. Machismo and sexism thrive in Brazil, even though this is the year 2010, one might add. People are especially intolerant of gay men. Unfortunately, dressing stylishly almost equals being gay (straight men in Latin American countries dress horribly for the most part) and looking different equals being subject to people calling you offensive names in the street, because you are different.

Some months ago I decided to bleach my hair white, so that I now look something like this (styling by Robbie Spencer):

Picture by Ben Toms for AnotherMan X

Which means that I am stared at about every time I leave the house. Sure I’m quite pale and my hair is now white, but I only wish this was the only source of passers-by bewilderment. Their intolerance is the reason why I get called names (some garbage collectors called me a faggot and something else a minute ago).

Was I then brave to do it? No, I did it because I wanted to. I simply cannot bear the thought of bending my will to prejudice and uncivilness. I take a stand.

Deep down, I truly want to believe that by doing what I feel like doing, trying as hard as possible to dismiss these people’s intolerance as pure misconceptions, I will be able to influence others to do the same.

So the next generation will be more tolerant. If children grow up used to diversity, they are much less likely to unwelcome it.


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