Being Gay in Rio de Janeiro

Contributed by Sergio Viula

© Sergio Viula

© Sergio Viula

Rio de Janeiro has been considered one of the friendliest cities in the world. I reckon it really is, although there is a lot of social injustice, including homophobia here and there. One of the main sources of hate speech is the fundamentalist wing, especially the evangelical one. However, we keep on fighting prejudice and I’m glad to say that our present Governor, Mr. Sergio Cabral, and our Mayor, Mr. Eduardo Paes, have both launched some sort of office especially dedicated to the promotion of LGBT rights in the city and state of Rio de Janeiro. Both offices count on long-term gay activists, now representatives of the State. A lot of good work, including campaigns involving different media, have been going on. I myself used to be a Baptist pastor and co-founder of a group to evangelize gay people and make them straight. After 18 years involved with church work – first a pentecostal one and then a traditional Baptist church -, I gave up the ministry, came out of the closet and divorced. Four years later I met my present partner, Emanuel Silva, who has been my sweetheart for six years now. Adding up all those years, you’ll find that I’ve been out for 10 years this 2013 – the best thing I’ve ever done in my life! Since I came out, I started to confront the fallacies of ex-gay ministries, fighting for equal rights.

By the way, I have two wonderful children from my first marriage who I get on really well with and so does my partner. They are very good friends. My son is 18 and my daughter is 21 now. When I came out, they were eight and eleven, respectively, and surprisingly open-minded. They have always been lovely and caring kids. Well, I’ve spoken a lot about myself. As to Rio, I’d say that LGBT people will love the city, especially Ipanema Beach, the nightclubs, the coffee-shops, the street parties during Carnival, Rio Pride, etc.

Sergio has also given a few interviews to the Brazilian media as well as some international means of communication. Please, have a look at some of them (the first ones are in Portuguese, but there are links in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, etc.):



  1. I really liked your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  2. Sergio Viula says:

    Thank you for posting my contribution to the site. ;)

    Best wishes,

    Sergio Viula

  3. Andrew Pelt says:

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    • Jor says:

      I lived in Brazil for a year as an exchange stduent in high school and had the chance to visit it twice during that time. I took my husband to visit three years ago and found it to be just as magical now as it was then. We stayed in Ipanema and loved it, but also loved Urca a lot.

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