Jean Wyllys, the only LGBTQ member of Brazil’s Congress, says he won’t be returning to his job or the country because of threats to his life.
Wyllys, a federal deputy elected by Rio de Janeiro, made the announcement on social media, linking to an article and interview in the newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
Since the assassination of Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco last March, Wyllys has lived under police escort, the paper reports.
Said Wyllys: The [former president of Uruguay] Pepe Mujica, when he learned that I was threatened with death, said to me, ‘Boy, take care, the martyrs are not heroes.’ And that’s it: I do not want to sacrifice myself.”
Another factor in Wyllys’ decision, he said, was that relatives of a former PM suspected of headling the militia under investigation for the assassination of Franco worked for Senator-elect Flávio Bolsonaro, the oldest son of newly-elected right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, during his tenure as state deputy for Rio de Janeiro.
Added Wyllys: “I’m terrified that the president’s son hired the hit man’s wife and mother in his office. The president who has always slandered me, who has always insulted me openly, who has always used homophobia against me. This environment is not safe for me.”
Wyllys has been bombarded with attacks from conservative groups since initiating an LGBTQ agenda in the National Congress. Alexander Frota, a federal deputy from São Paulo, was fined R$295,000 after he posted a photo of Wyllys calling him a pedophile because he is gay.
Folha de S. Paulo adds: “PSOL’s national president, Juliano Medeiros, confirmed that the Wyllys vacancy should be filled by substitute David Miranda (PSOL-RJ), who is currently a councilor in Rio de Janeiro.”
Miranda is the husband of journalist Glenn Greenwald.