There were more reported homicides against LGBT people in Brazil’s northeast region than anywhere else in the world, and that’s last year alone according to the nonprofit Grupo Gay da Bahia. The reported figures are only part of the dangers of living in Brazil as a member of the LGBT community as they gather the statistics based on news reports and personal accounts. Visibility for the trans community has therefore become both increasingly important and increasingly dangerous. Although the facts are not lost on trans musicians Assucena Assucena and Raquel Virgínia who lead the band As Bahias e a Cozinha Mineira in Brazil.
Not only does the duo stand for trans rights and visibility through their music careers but they also have a YouTube series titled “Nós Existimos! Visibilidade Trans” (“We Exist! Trans Visibility”) where they reenact stories from LGBT folk across Brazil.
“Although there’s still a very conservative segment of society that doesn’t approve of us, we are very lucky to have even older fans that lived through dictatorship violence, who essentially turn out because they feel enfranchised by our pro-freedom attitude,” Assucena said in her interview with Americas Quarterly. “We know what it’s like to be trans and play shows to crowds of different people. What matters to us is to not be harassed for who we are.”
As Brazil faces some of the worst discrimination and violence towards LGBT people in the world, trans activists and artists like Assucena and Virgínia refuse to back down now more than ever.