Brazilian Presidential Candidate Eduardo Leite Comes Out as Gay

Monday July 5, 2021
Originally published on July 2, 2021

A Brazilian politician running for the presidency announced he is gay, challenging the nation's proudly homophobic leader, Jair Bolsonaro.

Eduardo Leite, the 36-year-old governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, made the announcement on Thursday night during an interview with the country's top broadcaster, TV Globo, reports The Guardian.

"I have never spoken about a subject related to my private life," the 36-year-old center-right politician said, according to the New York Daily News.

"I'm gay — and I'm a governor who is gay rather than a gay governor. Just as Obama in the United States wasn't a black president, but a president who was black. And I'm proud of this," said Leite, from the centre-right Brazilian Social Democratic party (PSDB).

"The politician, who hopes to challenge the far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, in next year's presidential election, said he had nothing to hide, but wished sexual orientation was 'a non-issue' in Brazil," adds The Guardian.

Watch his announcement (in Portuguese) at this link.

"Leite, who hopes to become his party's nominee to challenge current president — and notorious anti-LGBTQ politician — Jair Bolsonaro in 2022, was an early supporter of the controversial leader," adds the Daily News.

"However, he became a vocal critic of the president due to the current administration's disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Bolsonaro, a self-proclaimed 'very proud' homophobe, has targeted the LGBTQ community, among other minorities, since his first day in office, in January 2019," writes the Daily News.

Some in the LGBTQ community praised his action. Fabiano Contarato, who became Brazil's first openly gay senator in 2018, congratulated Leite for his courage.

"I know the pain the prison of the closet represents, particularly in a conservative environment like politics, and each person needs to find the right moment to come out," he tweeted (translated by the Daily News).

Twitter user Carlos Santos wrote that he was "super proud of the governor of my home state in Brazil."

But, the Guardian reports, Jean Wyllys, Brazil's first openly gay congressman, was less forgiving.

"After spending years in the closet and being an outspoken supporter of a homophobic racist who turned out to be a genocide; after the silence in front of all the horrors experienced by the LGBTQ community in this country, we at least need to look at his coming out with a certain degree of critical conscience." (Translation by the Daily News.)