We just finished the long Corpus Cristi holiday weekend, which also featured the longest and biggest Gay Pride celebration series in my memory. Lots happened this weekend, which I will get to.
But my eye caught a small story in Folha de São Paulo this morning, about the brazen murder of 35 year-old French tourist Gregor Ervan Landouar late last night in front of the popular gay bar-restaurant Ritz on Alameda Franca, here in Jardins. According to the story, and other reporting in O Globo, Landouar chatted with three Brazilians he met at the bar, and then the four left Ritz together late in the evening. Right outside, they were approached by four young men, "dressed in skaters clothing", according to O Globo, one of whom took out a knife and repeatedly stabbed Landouar in the abdomen. The assailants said nothing on approach, and fled the scene. No robbery took place. Landouar was carrying his passport in his pocket. He was taken to the nearby Hospital das Clínicas where he died. Also according to O Globo, the three Brazilians accompanying the victim were "a stylist, an actor and a teacher."
Ritz is a legendary meeting place for gays in this area, and it is always crowded, with lines out the door, on weekends. Sunday night was undoubtedly a very busy night as over 3 million people had just participated in the parade, and over 300,000 tourists were in the city for the Pride events that started Wednesday night. Vini and I and our friends go to Ritz all the time, and I can always feel tension among the Brazilians I go with when we leave the place at night. You rarely see any police presence there, despite the fact that a few blocks over there is a notorious intersection where young gays and lesbians, often too young or poor to enter the bars and clubs in the neighborhood, gather by the hundreds on Friday and Saturday nights to meet each other and socialize; it is where many of the hate attacks have taken place recently.
Neither newspaper made any link to the fact that this happened on the day of the largest Gay Pride parade in world history, nor that it took place outside a gay establishment, in a well-known gay area. Nor did they point out that hate-attacks and stabbings by skinheads have become frequent in this vicinity. To me, it is screamingly obvious that this should be investigated as a hate crime; I question whether it will be without pressure, and the mainstream media consistently fails the test here on this issue. The failure of a beat reporter to connect the obvious dots is frustrating to say the least.
I sent the two stories to a friend at the gay web news portal MixBrasil, as their live-blogging of the parade yesterday topped their reporting this morning, and my guess is that they're all sleeping late today after this weekend. Meanwhile, Mayor Gilberto Kassab said this weekend, in light of the record-setting attendance at Pride, that Brazil is a country "that is every day less prejudiced." Yet, I see little to no concrete action on the part of his government to deal with anti-gay violence on the streets of this city, and no serious recognition of the problem in terms of police action.
UPDATE (1:00pm): MixBrasil now has the initial reports from Agência Folha on its site, which had initially said that Landouar was stabbed at the door of Ritz. Since that story (which I have a copy of, but it has been purged from the Folha site), the reporting now says (see the original hyperlink above) that the stabbing occurred sometime after the four men left Ritz, outside on Alameda Franca. Hopefully some independent reporting by MixBrasil will turn up more salient facts.
Also, Made in Brazil reports he was at Ritz earlier in the evening on Sunday with friends, not long before the murder took place, and after his extensive coverage of the parade.
- S. Paulo Newspapers Report Murder as Possible Hate Crime (June 12)
- Pride Parade Leader Laments Violence, Lack of Police Support (June 12)
- Landouar Murder: Eyewitness Gives Details to Newspaper (June 12)
- Another Murder on the Streets of Jardins (June 23)
- Jardins Attacks: Is It an Organized Murder Campaign? (June 24)
- Landouar Murder: "Punk" Under Arrest (August 3)
- Confirmed: Landouar Murder Was an Anti-Gay Murder Directly Linked to Gay Pride Parade (November 9)