The last couple of times I shared news about or denounced cases of LGBT-phobia on my Facebook page, I was attacked.
The first time this happened, one of my acquaintances stated that this type of prejudice is "common," and asked why we found acts of discrimination outrageous. She claimed that I was overreacting to a mundane, everyday occurrence. She even added a personal anecdote, arguing that she was bullied as a child, but turned out just fine. She concluded by saying that sharing news about such cases of prejudices only makes the issue more prevalent, and could generate further events of the same kind.
The second time I was attacked for speaking out against LGBT-phobia was when I posted a link about the terrible shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed 50 people. A commentator challenged my position, and claimed that the attack wasn't an act of LGBT-phobia, since the "Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the act."
How can anyone in Brazil claim that we are overreacting, when we live in a society in which people get killed for being gay, lesbian, transgender, black, or poor.
She said the attack wasn't homophobic even though the nightclub was not chosen at random, even though it was frequented by a specific clientele, and even though the shooter, according to his father, said that he hated gay people. How can she claim that there's no discrimination here?
How can anyone in Brazil claim that we are overreacting, when we live in a society in which people get killed for being gay, lesbian, transgender, black, or poor. Who is overreacting here? Those who share the story or those who are committing murder? Who is the aggressor? Those who condemn the atrocities or those who don't care?
Before embracing my identity as a gay man, people said I suffered from depression. They said I was anti-social. They said I was "different." All these diagnoses came from family members who didn't accept the fact that I did not conform to societal standards. I was called names on the streets and chased away merely for speaking, for walking, for laughing, and for hugging or holding hands with someone. Because being what I am upsets some people.
"My existence is a form of resistance." I first read this statement in a text by the transgender activist Daniela Andrade. How can you disagree with that? How can you say: "No, you are wrong," while those who don't fit in are oppressively crushed on a daily basis?
Yesterday I woke up to the news that 50 people had died because they dared to live according to their choices. And there are more people out there wishing for death for LGBT people; they are out there, putting people in boxes, trying to prohibit gay people from adopting children, and withdrawing rights.
It is not an "overreaction" to denounce the existing violence. It is an overreaction to ignore the fact that the targets of hatred and intolerance are people who simply wish to live like human beings.
This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.