Gay Rio? Shooting in Rio Being Investigated

RIO DE JANEIRO — The shooting of a gay youth by men in military uniforms after a mammoth gay pride parade is raising alarm about continuing homophobic violence in a city widely seen as a global oasis of tolerance.

Douglas Igor Marques Luiz told police he was hanging out with friends at the Arpoador, a rocky outcrop between Ipanema and Copacabana beaches Sunday when three men in military uniforms approached. The 19-year-old said they told everyone to leave, but held him back and started verbally abusing him. The aggression escalated, and eventually he was shot.

The shooting created particular attention because it came at a moment when Brazil’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual community was holding its biggest celebration in a city voted the “Sexiest Place on Earth” by the popular LGBT travel site TripOut Gay Travel in 2010.

LGBT tourists make up one quarter of its approximately 3 million international visitors every year, and Sunday’s gay pride march drew nearly a million participants, organizers estimated.

Yet despite Rio’s reputation as a gay-friendly and sexually uninhibited place where anything goes, there have been 600 complaints of anti-LGBT violence in the last year just in Rio state, according to the government-run program Rio Sem Homofobia, established in 2009 to help fight discrimination.

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