As Brazil prepares itself for the most festive and busy time of year – Carnaval – it is facing protests from both side of the aisle on the issue of separate bathrooms for gays and transvestites.
The problems started when Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools, whose participation are a critical component of Carnival festivities, created separate bathroom for exclusive use of gays and transvestites.
Some feel they are being separated because they are different and consider this move a ‘segregation’; while others argue it was done as a convenience and safety issue. Gays, lesbians, transvestites and transgender people participating in Carnival have the option to use the bathroom but are not being mandated to do so, officials say.
Rio de Janiero is looking into this issue carefully and meeting with protesters on both sides of the issue, since it is considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Nonetheless gay killings are on the rise in Brazil and have risen by as much as 62 percent in the last two years.