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WHAT IS THE GGB

The Gay Group of Bahia ("Grupo Gay da Bahia") is the oldest association for the defense of the human rights for homosexuals functioning in Brazil. Founded in 1980, the GGB was registered as a non-profit organization in 1983, and was declared a public service organization of the city of Salvador in 1987. It is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, it forms part of the staff of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, the National Association of Black and White Men Together, and it is a "twin" of the RFSL of Stockholm. Since 1989, it has been a member of the Health Ministry’s National Commission to Control AIDS, and since 1995 it has been one of the coordinators of the Secretariat of Human Rights of the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians and Transvestites. The GGB was directly responsible for the foundation of several groups in defense of the human rights of homosexuals in other states of Brazil, and it provides a meeting space for the Lesbian Group of Bahia, the Association of Transvestites of Salvador, and the Anti-AIDS Center of Bahia , entities which are allied with yet independent from the GGB. In 1985, the GGB promoted the Third Encounter of the Brazilian Homosexual Movement and in 1994, the Sixth Encounter of Brazilian AIDS NGO’s. The group publishes the GGB Bulletin two or three times a year, and has produced two dozen pamphlets and booklets about homosexuality and AIDS.

Objectives of the GGB

The GGB has three objectives:

  1. To defend the rights to full citizenship for gays, lesbians, transvestites and transsexuals of Bahia and Brazil, denouncing and fighting against all manifestations of homophobia and sexual discrimination;

  2. To spread accurate information about homosexuality, promoting the establishment of sexual education courses in all schools, to put an end to ignorance and the conspiracy of silence against the "love that dare not speak its name" through a discourse which is scientifically and politically correct;

  3. To promote awareness among the greatest number of gays, lesbians, transvestites and transsexuals about the urgent need to fight for their full civil rights, as well as to give access to information and support regarding sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS.

Organization and Functioning of the GGB

The Gay Group of Bahia is coordinated by six non-salaried Directors, (President, Vice-president, Treasurer, and three Coordinators), elected for three years. Any citizen can become a member of the GGB, independent of sex, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, or political ideology: the GGB presently has 500 regular members.

The GGB has its own center, generously offered by one of the directors, located at Rua Frei Vicente, 24 – Pelourinho ( ao lado do Teatro 18)Salvador. The space is made up of a three floors hause and hold a smael library, am archive and na office with a telephone, fax end computer. It houses the largest archive of newspapers, magazines, and other printed material on the history of homosexuality in Latin America. The center is open to the public during business hours.

Since its foundation, the GGB has held two weekly meetings, every Wednesday and Friday, from 8 to 10 p.m. These meetings are coordinated by the group’s Board of Directors and are dedicated to the discussion of topics of interest to the gay community. Between 100 and 200 people visit the GGB’s center every week, making the number of visitors during the group’s 16 years of existence exceed 20,000.

The following subgroups form part of the GGB: the Quimbanda-Dudu Group of Black Gays of Bahia; the Gay Stamp Association of Brazil; the Brazilian Association of Parents and Friends of Homosexuals; the Center for Homosexual Studies.

Activities of the GGB

Since its foundation in 1980, the Gay Group of Bahia has achieved significant victories for the civil rights of lesbians, transvestites, transsexuals and gays. It published the first and most important book about "Lesbianism in Brazil" and various articles about the history of Luso-Brasilian "sodomites" persecuted by the Portuguese Inquisition. The GGB has organized hundreds of conferences, round tables and debates about homosexuality and AIDS in schools, universities and on radio and television programs throughtout the country and overseas. It led on a national campaign which deleted homosexuality from the list of sexual deviancies of the International Classification of Illnesses of the World Health Organization (1985), and was the author of seven motions against homophobia and in defense of people living with AIDS which were approved by leading Brazilian Scientific Associations. The GGB led the successful campaign to include the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 73 Municipal Statutes and 3 State Constitutions. It is an active member of the current campaign to legalize the Civil Union Contract between people of the same sex, and was recently invited to defend this campaign in the Parliament in Brasilia. It was the first NGO to promote AIDS prevention in Brazil (1982) and was the author of the first AIDS prevention handout in Braille for blind people, of the first booklet aimed at the prevention of AIDS in Candomble (an Afro-Brazilian cult) and of two dozen handouts, posters and booklets specifically about AIDS for gays, transvestites, hustlers, and sex professionals and for HIV-positive people and people living with AIDS. Since 1987, the GGB has distributed over 700,000 free condoms and has organized dozens of exhibitions of AIDS-prevention posters in public spaces. Every year the GGB commemorates Gay Pride and since 1988 it has organized public events on International AIDS Day. In its archive, the GGB has the largest collection in the world documenting assassinations of homosexuals: between 1980 and 1998, over 1600 gays, lesbians and transvestites were killed in Brazil, (an average of one every four days), victims of homophobia. In 1995, the president of the GGB received the Felipe de Souza Prize, from the IGLHRC, the most important honor of its kind in the world.

Profile of the Members of the GGB

The GGB is located in Salvador (2.5 million inhabitants), capital of the State of Bahia (10 million), in the Northeast region of Brazil (160 million). Salvador was the first colonial capital, and it is the city in which Afro-Brazilian culture is the strongest. Blacks and mestizos make up 70% of the population. This is one of the poorest regions of Brazil, with a minimum salary of approximately US$100, and an extremely high rate of unemployment and infant mortality. Urban violence is reflected in the frequent public lynchings (one a month!) and in the widespread crimes, many of which are committed by civil and military police.

The majority of the people who attend the GGB are Blacks and mestizos aged 15 to 25, gays and transvestites, bisexuals and youths in general, most of whom need work and who are members of poor families with whom they reside. Lesbians attend the meetings of the Lesbian Group of Bahia, every Thursday night. Studies reveal that homosexuals are the primary victims of prejudice and discrimination in Brazil, with a level of rejection of up to 80% of those polled. Despite the fact that homosexuals themselves estimate that they make up 10% of the national population, the percentage of out gays and lesbians is less than 5%, since there does not exist a "homosexual community" in Brazil like those that exist in the major cities of the First World. Here out gays generally have a low income level and a weak tradition of material support for organized groups. Currently, there exist in Brazil approximately 50 groups of gays, lesbians transvestites, and trasngender

Sources of Funding for the GGB

In its first ten years of existence, the GGB survived on small donations from national and foreign benefactors, with a budget of approximately US$1,000 per month. During the past 7 years, it obtained 6 international grants (total value of approximately US$35,000) from the following entities: Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Kimeta Society (Toronto), European Foundation for Human Rights and the Threshold Foundation (SF). From 1994-1996, it received approval from the Health Ministry/ World Bank for 4 AIDS-prevention projects, with a total value of US$100,000. In order to sustain the center and the regular activities , the GGB requires a minimum of US$18,000 per year (including the salaries of 3 coordinators, material expenses, and the production of educational material).

International support and financial collaboration are indispensable for the maintenance of the Gay Group of Bahia as one of the most dynamic NGO’s of the Brazilian Homosexual Movement, considering the difficulty of obtaining local resources for the defense of the human rights of gays, lesbians and transvestites.

Contributions can be sent to the Gay Group of Bahia, Banco do Brasil, Salvador, Bahia, Agencia 03468, Count 9093-X.

 

 


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  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  Grupo Gay da Bahia - GGB
Rua Frei Vicente, 24 - Pelourinho - Caixa Postal 2552
CEP 40.022-260. Salvador / Bahia / Brasil 
Tel.: (71) 321-1848 / 322-2552 / 322-2176
Fax: 322-3782
 
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         © 2003, Todos os direitos reservados, Grupo Gay da Bahia