Largest gay parade in Sao Paolo sets world record
25] SAO PAOLO, Brazil--Three million people took part in the 11th
gay pride parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 10, making it easily
the world's largest such parade ever.
The president of the Sao Paulo Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual and Transvestite Parade Association, Nelson Matias Pereira,
said the march down Avenida Paulista aimed to confront homophobia,
machismo and racism, according to the Agencia Brasil wire service.
Activists take part in the 11th Gay Parade in Sao Paulo June 10,
2007. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)
For their 11th parade, the gays received official
backing for the first time. Brazil's ministers for Tourism and Sport,
Marta Suplicy and Orlando Silva, attended the parade. The governor
of Sao Paulo state, Jose Serra, and city mayor Gilberto Kassab were
Sponsors included Brazil's state energy company
Petrobras and the state-owned Caixa Economica Federal bank. The
parade is seen as a major cash cow, attracting large numbers of
Brazilian and foreign visitors, who boost the receipts of hotels,
restaurants and shops.
Marchers included the mayor, the governor and
the federal sports and tourism ministers. The official attendance
figure was provided by police. Last year, 2.5 million people turned
According to the BBC, 70 other Brazilian cities
also have gay pride parades. The day before the march, about 1 million
evangelical Christians staged an anti-gay "March for Jesus."
The Rainbow Flag identified with the Gay community was originally
created by Gilbert Baker for the 1978 San Francisco Pride Parade.
It originally had 8 stripes, but was later simplified to the current
6 stripes. An 8 stripe Rainbow Flag flies over Harvey Milk Plaza
in the Castro.
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Reports said one participant, Christian
pastor Andre Fabiano, used a public-address system mounted on a
truck to chant, "Vade retro, Satanism! Vade retro, homosexuality!"
-- a paraphrase of a medieval exorcism formula.
On a five-day visit to Brazil, the world's most
populous Catholic country, Pope Benedict attracted less than 1 million
to listen to his calls to reinforce traditional family values.