SAO PAULO – Brazilian governor and potential candidate for the presidency of a major party, Eduardo Leite, a prominent critic of President Jair Bolsonaro, came out as gay in a television interview.
Leite, governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, is said to be Brazil’s first openly gay presidential candidate. Anti-gay rhetoric has been central to speeches by Bolsonaro, who once said that if he had a gay son, he would rather he die in an accident.
“I have never spoken about a subject related to my private life,” Leite told Brazilian journalist Pedro Bial in a television interview Thursday evening.
“But during this time of low integrity in Brazil, I have nothing to hide, I’m gay. I’m a gay governor, not a gay governor, because former President Obama in the United States was a black president, not a black President. And I’m proud of it. “
Leite, a member of the social democratic party PSDB, supported Bolsonaro in the second round of the 2018 Brazilian elections, but has become a critic of the president’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leite, 36, will be a candidate in the PSDB primaries scheduled for November to choose the presidential candidate for the 2022 elections. Other candidates for the primary are Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, Senator Tasso Jereissati and former Senator Arthur Virgílio .
Bolsonaro told supporters on Friday that Leite was trying to use his coming out as a “calling card” for the presidential campaign.
“I have nothing against his private life, but he cannot impose his lifestyle on others,” he added.
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