Este artigo também está disponível em: Português

One day, during an interview to a site, if I remember it correctly, someone asked me if I had suffered homophobia and I answered “no”. Some time later, I realized how untruthful was that answer.

Eliseu Neto - Picture: personal archive
Eliseu Neto – Picture: personal archive

I was raised by my grandparents in São Paulo until I was 12 years old, when my grandmother passed away and I went to live with my uncle’s family, my mother’s brother, in the south of the country, in the city of Florianópolis. It was him who hit and morally violated me from my 12 years until my 17 years. He broke a VCR in my head and even beat me using my cat (he used to grab the poor cat by its tail and hit me). I went to class with a black eye several times. I remember well the panic caused by having to stay locked inside my room, because the mere act of going to the kitchen could mean a free beating.

Eliseu Neto – Picture: personal archive

At that age, I couldn’t understand why the man who, someday, was my favorite uncle, turned out to hate me so much. It is a kind of disgust that the person demonstrates towards you; only those who experienced it know what I am talking about.

I thought about suicide. I thought about running away. When I was 17 years old, I finally gathered up the courage to call the police and report my uncle for assault on a minor. It was the time I started to live on my own, even though I was still in school. It was what saved my life. But those who think that I was gay at that time are wrong: I still took three long years to find out my sexuality and finally understand that all the hate my uncle felt towards me was homophobia.

Eliseu Neto - Picture: personal archive
Eliseu Neto – Picture: personal archive

All of this led me to the Cidadania Party, which, through the Direct Action of Unconstitutionality by Omission (ADO 26), since June 13, made the Federal Court of Justice equate LGBTphobia to racism, while the Congress doesn’t do its duty of legislating on the issue. I think about the importance of an LGBT young person knowing that there is a legislation that, finally (even if by force) supports them.

I believe that what is the most important about the creation of a law of this kind isn’t to arrest people and throw them into our crowded prisons, but to educate society against homophobia.

The Afonso Arinos law (from June 1951, promulgated by Getúlo Vargas) didn’t end the scathing racial prejudice in Brazil, but, at least, made some idiots think two, three or ten times before offending or humiliating someone.

We deserve the same protection, because, unlike black people, most of the times the pain and the violence come from within our homes, from people who were supposed to love and protect us.

I will always remember my uncle’s disgusted face when calling me a “little faggot”, a “nancy” and “girly”, and beating me later.

Isn’t it evident that we need to protect people (not only adults, but children and teenagers too) from this kind of aggression?

“The weak can never forgive: forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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