Brazilian trans model popularity explosion tempered by high rate of transgender killings

Brazilian trans model Felipa Tavares

Brazilian trans model Felipa Tavares

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — On one hand it’s gratifying to see mainstream media’s spotlight on Brazil’s transgender models, bringing positive attention and “normalcy” to the huge number of trans people in that country, while on the other hand, the media is mostly glossing over the sheer number of trans people killed in that country during 2012 — a quick google search brought numbers ranging from 68 to 115. This includes a stoning death (Madona) that I covered earlier this year:

Following the stoning death, a Brazilian government official said this: ‘Contrary to popular belief, most of the [transgender] murders are not crime of passion at all, but the murderers are people who didn’t know their victims.  . . . ‘People here in Brazil think that if they don’t like someone, like a trans person, they have a right to murder.

Yet, we have the media hyping up the emerging Brazilian trans model phenomena with nary a word about real-world conditions for transgender Brazilians:

Rio-based modeling agency 40 Graus Models’  Sergio Mattos: “We are in the 21st century and there is just more tolerance in the air. Here in Brazil we now have gay mayors, gay lawmakers.  So why not trans-models? The world has evolved and now discrimination is, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past.”


I don’t know about Mr. Matto’s ‘discrimination becoming a thing of the past” comment, because if you ask me, killing a trans person for being transgender is the ultimate form of discrimination and Brazil had a pretty big number for TDOR 2012.

Brazil’s stoning death of Madona was remembered in my 2012 TDOR list:

Brazilian trans model Lea T (Photo:

Brazilian trans model Lea T (Photo:

From upcoming trans doc titled "Vice."

From upcoming trans doc titled “Vice.”

More about Brazil’s trans models: Transgender models stars in Brazil – SFGate.

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Categories: Deaths, Murder, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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2 replies

  1. See my post on facebook, I totally agree. The media tends to show the sensationalistic glossy side of what they think will boost ratings. They don’t care that increased visibility for the trans community brings with it a counter reaction of increased violence. Viewers don’t want to see THAT! But they must. We have to educate the world about the reality of the transgender experience.

  2. I agree, except I think that having greater exposure in the media for trans* people will over time lead to greater acceptance and less tolerance for hate and violence. It’s a slow journey though. The rest of the story does need to be better told though–people have to be made aware of why such progress is so important, if they are to be motivated to change.

    Brazil is kind of a strange place. On one hand, it has long been known as a place that is very accepting of LGBTs, and sex and sexuality, and so on. Yet on the other hand, much of the populace is devoutly Catholic. This juxtaposition surely has to be the source of some serious tension and conflict.

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