Written by Eve, Women's Representative
This is the first of a collection of blog posts, identifying key LGBT+ figures from around the world. The series is all about who they are, their story and their fight for the rights of the LGBT+ community. It’s designed to enlighten, educate and inspire you.
Marielle Franco was born in a favela in Rio de Janiero in 1979. She openly identified as bisexual. She was a defender of black women, the working class and the LGBT+ community. She campaigned and spoke fiercely about the rights of these groups. She was an inspiration to many people in her community.
In 2016, she ran for a seat in the Rio de Janeiro City Council in the Municipal Elections and received the fifth highest number of votes among over 1,500 individuals standing, and was elected to be one of the representatives.
Franco presented a bill to have a Lesbian day of visibility in Brazil, which unfortunately was not passed. She also stood up for the injustice of police brutality. This was an incredibly risky thing for her to do, as Brazil can be a dangerous place for human rights defenders. Many human rights defenders are believed to be assassinated and, it is a feeling amongst many in those circles that, their deaths are not investigated to a satisfactory standard. In 2017, 70 human rights defenders were killed.
On March 14th 2018, she was shot whilst driving home from work. It is believed by many that that this may have been a planned assassination by the Federal Brazilian Police. Thousands gathered in the streets throughout Brazil in her memory and to protest against the injustice.
Her partner, Monica Benico, made a statement in memory of Franco and her legacy. She describes how loved Franco was in her community, and how people approached her and said they felt represented and were proud of her work. You can see it, here.
As a woman who was openly a member of the LGBT+ community, and campaigned on their behalf, she has left a legacy of hope and demand for change in Brazil. She an inspirational example of a LGBT+ figure who has paved the way to an open and liberated society.
Source: Amnesty International - watch video here
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