Arrests Made In Brutal Gay-Bashing Of Student In Sao Paulo

In a case that’s gripped Brazil, a gay law student in São Paulo was brutally gay bashed by two assailants. The assault happened as 27 year-old André Baliera was returning home from school on Monday evening.

The men suddenly stopped their car and started verbally assaulting Baliera, O Globo reports. Baliera says he was repeatedly called “faggot,” and when he tried to talk with the men, they attacked him.

Thankfully locals came to Baliera’s aid and apprehended the two attackers—personal trainers Bruno Portieri, 25, and Diego Souza, 29.

Prosecutors are charging the pair with a hate crime and attempted first-degree murder. If the two are found guilty they could face fines of up to R$ 55,000 (US$ 24,632) each, in addition to an unspecified jail term.

But Souza and Portieri claim that if Baliera hadn’t talked back they would’ve let him go. They alsodeny the attack was based on his sexual orientation.

Some Brazilian journalists also reported the story as if Baliera provoked the men. In response Baliera posted a YouTube video on Wednesday, outlining the details of the assault and thanking the people who aided him during the assault. Its since gone 180,000 views in 24 hours.

“To be honest, it’s never been easy to be gay in our [Brazilian] society,” he says in the clip. “I’ve been part of a movement against homophobia… and today I am on the other side, as a victim,” Baliera says in the clip.  “‘I still am afraid to leave the house.  I haven’t left home alone [since the attack]. ‘We have to make it stop… I don’t want to have to pretend that I am not who I am to be able to return home safely.”

If there can be a silver lining to this tragic incident, it’s in the reaction from Brazilian society. Dan Jung, a Brazilian civil- rights advocate told Queerty: “This is a historic moment for Brazil, not only has a hate crime law received exceptional attention, but Baliera received much public sympathy, including passersby, which is really unprecedented. It seems the Brazilian public will not accept any more homophobia.”

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  • jeff4justice

    When I read about things like another gay teen committing suicide and a gay bashing victim in the news this week, I get more pissed off at the apathetic LGBTs who are equipped to make things better but choose fear or apathy over getting involved – and I’ve met many who are like that. We are far outnumbered by the forces of homophobia. To me LGBTs who opt-out of helping make things better are partly to blame.

  • the other Greg

    @jeff4justice: What is your definition of who is “equipped to make things better”? As someone who was both (a) a bullied teen and (b) a gay-bashed adult, I’m hardly apathetic, but I don’t feel “equipped” to “do” much of anything about those problems.

  • Ste

    So they’re defense is “if Baliera hadn’t talked back they would’ve let him go”. Oh, ok. WTF? I will NEVER understand why someone would want to beat somebody up simply because they are gay. That doesn’t even make sense.

  • jeff4justice

    @the other Greg: I am sorry those things happened to you.

    Why are you not equipped? Who is not helping equip you?

    My definition of equipped is anyone who tires of being in the abuser/victim cycle and wants to contribute to the advancement of LGBTs one way or another. Only you can determine how you’re best equipped.

    If you wish to continue the conversation add @gmail.com to my user name and send me a message.

  • the other Greg

    @jeff4justice: Thanks for your unexpectedly kind reply, and I’ll probably write you in the near future when I think of what to say. I apologize for making fun of you previously; my bf thinks I tend to be way too jokey here, because of my past I’m guessing.

    I’ll say here that at Queerty’s urging I donated to the Ali Forney Center, the NYC gay youth homeless shelter that was ruined in the hurricane – which to be fair to me, I guess was more than probably 99% of Queerty readers have ever done for gay youth except preach to the choir in the comments here. (But the comments may help any kids reading this stuff, who knows.)

    In your terms, it makes me think that maybe those who were victims in the past, vaguely understand the problems but are not equipped to do much of anything, while those who were NOT victims in the past usually don’t understand at all and are generally apathetic, or even find creative ways of blaming the victims.

    What to do in real life, when because of my brutalized past I generally dislike being around people, I don’t know yet!

  • the other Greg

    @jeff4justice: How’s this, Jeff? You’ve inspired me to think maybe I’ve been too pessimistic. I don’t know how many readers Queerty has, but maybe there’s a quiet, bullied kid reading this right now.

    To that kid I’ll say: It’s okay to consider your future as a quiet gay adult. You might get the impression from reading this site (& others) that there’s a Gay Rulebook, and all gay people are socialized a certain way (and you’re definitely NOT it), and maybe you have to spend all your time making videos, or something. There’s no Gay Rulebook, there’s not even really any Gay Culture anymore, it’s a myth.

    Get off the computer regularly and get outside. Vitamin D deficiency and lack of exercise are PROVEN causes of extreme depression. Unfortunately your crummy schools probably caused this because they cater only to the jocks; anyone who’s not in organized sports ends up enervated and depressed, and maybe suicidal. In fact if you can afford it, buy a bottle of Vitamin D3 (make sure it’s D3) at least 2000 IU a day but as much as 8000 if you live in a cold climate. Seriously, you’ll feel better! (It’s raining where I am so I’m not being hypocritical right now!)

    If you grew up poor like I did… Advice. Financial independence is very important. Come out to your parents AFTER you no longer need to ask them for money! Be prepared for rejection, and I do mean total rejection. But you might be pleasantly surprised and they’ll react better than you expect.

    My most radical advice – Reconsider college. It’s actually becoming a bad investment for some people. Being buried under student debt that they can NEVER pay off isn’t a fun way to start out their 20s. Anyway, some people actually hate college. (You hate high school, don’t you? ha ha.) … But if you do go, and your crummy schools haven’t managed to teach you a foreign language adequately, don’t rule that out. A year in a Spanish or Portuguese speaking country could open up a lot of prospects for you. Don’t even rule out Chinese or Japanese; sure the written language is a b*tch for us Roman alphabet folks, but the spoken language is learnable enough. Most Americans don’t even have passports, yet we’re becoming a diverse polyglot country. And you’d never forget the experience.

    My guess is, find a boyfriend who’s quite a bit more outgoing than you are, but not too much! That’ll probably be the best match. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a long time. Not everyone is gonna get you – *especially* if you’re cute! (believe me) – some guys will just be annoyed that your personality isn’t different, and may get pretty mean about it. Don’t take it to heart, just move on and forget them. Btw the reason for their behavior is, they have their own problems, and they’re looking for someone to help them with their problems, and they’re resentful that you can’t help them. You probably won’t understand since because of your background, you’re used to being solitary and really, pretty content with being solitary – you’re like Hexagram 61 of the I Ching, Inner Truth, dependability, “he rests in himself, if he sought rest elsewhere he would not find rest.” (A quality your eventual boyfriend will deeply appreciate!)

    Meanwhile, when you’re dating – don’t bareback, don’t bareback, don’t bareback. Don’t believe any bullsh*t some smooth-talking weasel tells you that “it’s okay this one time” or “it’s more intimate” (ugh) or any of that crap. Oh and did I mention, don’t bareback? :)

    (Any good, Jeff? – I’ll probably email you soon, thanks again.)

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