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Brazil’s presidential election is being held Sunday, Oct. 28, and the projected winner is Social Liberal Party candidate Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician who is making comparisons as Brazil’s answer to Donald Trump. Bolsonaro has a long history of misogynistic, homophobic, and racist rhetoric, and critics fear that if he should win, Brazil’s fraught democracy will fall back into authoritarianism.
The resistance to Bolsonaro has found an unexpected voice, however, in Pabllo Vittar, a 23-year-old drag queen and pop star who is championing the women’s movement #EleNão, which translates to #NotHim in English. Vittar first gained viral attention in 2015 thanks to a Portuguese cover of the Major Lazer song “Lean On” with original lyrics, which has since been viewed over 63 million times on YouTube.
In early 2017, Vittar released his debut studio album, Vai Passar Mal, and went on to become the first Latin Grammy Awards drag queen nominee.
Vittar, who is openly gay, has become a leading voice for Brazil’s LGBTQ community. So it seems only natural that he would step up to the resistance against Bolsonaro, who has made offensive homophobic remarks in the past, like that he would prefer his son to die in an accident rather than turn out gay.
Among Bolsonaro’s other “greatest hits” include telling a female lawmaker that she “wasn’t worthy of being raped” and that women don’t deserve equal salaries to men due to pregnancy
Although unfortunately it seems as if Bolsonaro’s rise is inevitable, Vittar seems committed to leading the resistance. He’s even gone so far as to cut ties with brands that have come out in support of Bolsonaro.
And it sounds like the LGBTQ community is going to need him. If the outcome of the election is anything like the 2016 presidential election in America, Brazilians may have dark days head of them.
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.