More than 3 million people gathered in South America’s largest city, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday, June 6, for the world’s largest gay event. Some reports said as many as 3.2 million to 3.5 million attended.
According to the Portuguese-language newspaper Diario de Sao Paulo, this is the city’s 14th Pride parade and was its most political.
The theme was “Vote contra a homofobia. Defenda a cidadania,” according to the Sao Paulo newspaper Agora. That translates to, “Vote against homophobia. Defend citizenship.”
Marchers demanded making homophobia a crime and keeping religion out of government, according to Alexandre Santos, the president of Associação da Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo, the parade organizing committee. The organization is particularly concerned with hate-related murders of gays, lesbians and transgender people.
On Friday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva issued a decree creating a National Day Against Homophobia.
Diario interviewed a number of people who lined Avenida Paulista for the parade who were not members of the LGBT community.
An 81-year-old woman told the paper, “Glad I came, it’s wonderful!”
A mother from the town of Cajamar 25 miles from Sao Paulo brought her daughter. She told the paper, “It’s a beautiful festival.”
According to GayPrideBrazil.org, the event brings in $150 million to the city.
And — in contrast to the U.S., where the largest oil company, Irving-based ExxonMobil Corp., scores a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index — Petrobras, Brazil’s largest oil company, is the parade’s chief sponsor.