April 16, 2019 at 11:24 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
NYC museum to no longer host gala for Brazil president
The American Museum of Natural History in New York will no longer host a gala at which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will be honored. (Photo by Agência Brasil Fotografias; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The American Museum of Natural History in New York on Monday announced it will no longer host an event at which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will be honored.

The New York Times reported the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala was scheduled to take place next month in the museum’s Hall of Ocean Life.

The Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce will honor Bolsonaro with its Person of the Year award. GLAAD and other groups, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, urged the museum to cancel the event.

“With mutual respect for the work and goals of our individual organizations, we jointly agreed that the museum is not the optimal location for the Brazilian-Am. Chamber of Commerce gala dinner,” read a message the museum posted on its Twitter page. “This traditional event will go forward at another location on the original date and time.”

Bolsonaro, a former Brazilian Army captain who previously represented Rio de Janeiro in the country’s Congress, took office on Jan. 1. Bolsonaro’s rhetoric against LGBTI Brazilians, women and other groups continues to spark widespread outrage.

Bolsonaro after taking office issued an executive order that directed Brazil’s human rights ministry not to consider LGBTI-specific issues. Bolsonaro a few weeks later tweeted “great day” after Jean Wyllys, a member of the leftist Party for Socialism and Liberty who is the first openly gay man elected to the Brazilian congress, resigned and fled the country because of death threats.

Bolsonaro on March 19 stressed his government’s “respect of traditional family values” and opposition to “gender identity” as he spoke alongside President Trump during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. Bolsonaro later met with Pat Robertson and other evangelical Christians and prayed with them.

Two former police officers who were arrested in connection with the 2018 murder of bisexual Rio Councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes, on March 12 lived in the same condominium complex in which Bolsonaro’s home is located.

“The American Museum of Natural History has done the right thing by declining to host an event that features the anti-LGBTQ President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil,” said GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis on Tuesday in a statement. “His extremist voice has no place at one of New York City’s most beloved institutions.”

“At GLAAD, we hope the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce will follow suit and withdraw their award for an elected leader who is targeting LGBTQ Brazilians for unequal treatment under the law,” she added.

A GLAAD spokesperson on Wednesday told the Washington Blade the organization reached out to Brazilian LGBTI activists and advocacy groups before it publicly called upon the museum not to host the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce event. The spokesperson also said GLAAD remains in contact with the anti-Bolsonaro campaign in New York.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.