Paving the way – Tony Reiss has been fighting for LGBTQIA + individual and family rights since 1990 – Agência AIDS

“We have a project whose name you fill out yourself. I am coordinating with lawyers from all the states of the country, in partnership with the Public Prosecutor, Defender, OAB, so that any complaint can be raised. You don’t have to agree not to sue. If you commit a crime, you will be judged.

Bolsonaro did not invent homophobia and patriarchy, he just opened it up. I think it’s great for people to get out of the sewers and get rid of these superstitions, because then we’ll go to the field. And everyone is watching on the field.

I am stubborn but calm and patient. I calmly discuss with the President of the Evangelical Front. Religious fundamentalism is a real threat to the rights of minorities. Love is not a disease. “

Tony Reiss was born in Paranানার’s Colonel Vivida in 1964 and faced homophobia, church and Brazilian law as to who he is today: a gay, Christian man, married to Englishman David Harad and father of three young men.

He says the period he lived from the age of 14 to 20 was horrible. “I did not feel like a person. When I was 14, I told my mother: ‘I’m an abnormal, a sinner, a criminal.’ He replied that he would help me. And he took me to the doctor. “

Joining the month since childhood, Tony also sought advice from the parish priest, who guided him through the prayer novenas. And with each “relapse”, he should start the cycle of prayer again. “Novena became a quarantine, because I never healed myself from being gay,” he says with a laugh. He seeks an evangelical church, Umbanda, and has committed suicide at least three times during this time.

“It simply came to our notice then. And so Tony decided to fight.

Theo Marquez / UOL

Fight for a secular state

At the age of 20, while studying literature at the Federal University of Paran, the world opened up to Tony. In the late 1980s, he moved to Europe. She lived in Spain, Italy, France and England, where she met her husband, David. In 1991, he returned to Curitiba with David.

Immigration to Brazil, however, allows foreigners to spend only three months as tourists in the country. At the end of this period, they must have a permanent visa. And to do that, David must have an employment contract with some organization that guarantees employment, in writing, or marries a Brazilian woman, since it was only in 2011 that the Federal Supreme Court (STF) began recognizing a stable union between them. – Gender couple as a family entity.

David was disqualified for a time, arrested in 1995 and given an ultimatum: he had to leave the country within eight days. “We cried and we assessed our potential: either we would face the system or we would move to a remote part of the country and we would continue to ‘escape’. We have decided to fight, “he recalled.

And then they encounter the system. Tony was already an activist and in 1992, one of the founders of Grupo Dignidade, the first civil society organization from Paran dedicated to promoting and defending the human rights of the LGBTQIA + community. They had the idea of ​​organizing a mass rally around the problem. “It was a hit in the press, they were on the Jô Soares program, an article by Fantástico. We were able to bring together the Consul, the Ambassador of England, dear Ruth Cardoso and then Deputy Marta Supplici.” They found a way “in the Brazilian way”: with the help of the couple’s friends, David was hired as a translator and was able to stay in the country.

Everything is politics and marketing

An expert in the humanities, a master of philosophy and a doctor and a postdoctoral fellow in education, Tony has always believed in the importance of organized civil society for the definition of public policy. He was one of the founders and leading drivers of the Brazilian Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexuals and Transsexuals (ABGLT), founded in 1995 in Curitiba. He was elected the first president of the organization and resumed his post. 2007 and 2012.

Rafael met West Tony in 1999. She was in her teens and began to understand herself as a trans woman. “He was already an important leader in Curitiba. He and Harry founded the Dignity Group. We formed a bond of friendship, and he became virtually a father’s personality. Our relationship is mixed with activist work: to this day, I am a member of the Dignified Advisory Board and I have been the Administrative Director of Aliansar, “said Rafaelli.

The struggle continued for the expression of public policy and for the recognition of the rights of non-heterosexual people and other minorities and for the welcome of these people. Since 2003, he has been a member of the National LGBTI + Alliance, a multi-party, non-profit organization that seeks to unite society to protect human rights and citizenship.

The group works on legal proposals on human rights and the full citizenship of LGBTQIA + people, oversight of proceedings in the Federal Supreme Court, and the power to legislate.

Tony Reyes with her husband David Harrard and their children Alison, Jessica and Philip

Seven years of gestation

Once they decide to have children, they start looking for ways to adopt a child as a couple. They were admitted to the Court of Childhood and Youth of Curiosity in 2005 for a joint adoption license – the city’s first lawsuit. They could have avoided bureaucracy and adopted as unmarried, but if one of them dies, the other will not automatically have custody of the child. Three years later, the judge accepted the request, but limited gender and age: it must be a girl and over 10 years old. They realized it was about homophobia and appealed.

When the Federal Supreme Court unanimously ruled that, for legal purposes, a stable marriage between same-sex couples would be equal to that of a straight couple, a new path to joint adoption was opened. In December of that year, they received custody of Allison, 10. “It was the longest pregnancy in history. This is the first time in the country that a Homoaffective couple has been adopted by STF. In 2014, they met Jessica, 11, and brother Philip, 8, and adopted them together a year later.

The staff also stood in front of the church: the children said they wanted to be baptized in the Catholic religion. “I went to the archbishop because the priest refused to baptize me. It was a wonderful baptism. With photos and videos, we created a dossier and sent it to the Vatican. To our surprise, we received a letter signed by Pope Francis in 2017 to congratulate us and wish our family well. “

From marriage to the adoption of their children, Tony and David also faced death threats, which appear weekly on the Internet. “For many things, there needs to be a strategy, a dialogue, but if the person commits a crime, I don’t have it anymore. The cyber crime police found out who the boy was. He will have to pay a fine of R $ 17,000 and be sentenced to five years in prison.

Theo Marquez / UOL

In the protection of the family

The lives of Tony and his family are involved in politics and activism. The definition of what a “family” is, has long been a topic of discussion with Pastor Silas Malafiya.

Tony talks to everyone. Including Minister Damares Alves, whom he has known since 1999, when he formed the Evangelical Parliamentary Front. “Today, we are continuing the debate because it represents the state. But I do not accept hate speech and prejudice, “he said. Tony said he had filed a lawsuit against the education minister for claiming LGBTQIA + people were the result of” a dysfunctional family “. Through and others fine BRL 200,000 – heavy even for a minister. “

Tony sees how far Brazil has come, especially with some gains through the Federal Supreme Court. But in the legislature, according to him, we have fundamentalism, “which leaves us behind with the countries of Latin America”. But he has hope.

“In terms of human rights, ecology, I want to leave the world much better than I have ever been. I like to give lectures and write. We have a communication manual on LGBTI + Christianity, how to talk to opponents, allies and those who are not organized, “he concluded.

Source: ECOA (UOL)

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