THE brutal murder of an 18-year-old gay youth has ignited rage throughout Brazil, despite efforts by authorities to play down the crime as "a lovers' quarrel."
Protests and candlelight vigils (photos above and bottom) were held in several cities Saturday and a memorial service is planned September 17, amid a growing call for legislation to ban anti-LGBTIU discrimination and violence.
The death of 18-year-old JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI has galvanized worshipers of Antinous into proclaiming him the first martyr saint of Antinous in Brazil.
His battered body was found in the city of Inhumas in the state of Goiás with his mouth and trachea stuffed with a plastic bag and a paper note, on which had been scrawled an anti-gay hate message saying that this is what should happen to all queers.
Reports say bruises, lacerations and contusions showed that he had put up a desperate struggle against his attackers. Police have tried to quash reports that his neck was fractured and both legs broken, saying pathology tests have not been completed.
Amidst allegations of an official cover-up, authorities are only saying that a 20-year-old fruit picker has been detained for questioning and that investigations are proceeding.
Police suggestions that the two may have been involved in "lovers' quarrel" have sparked anger in the GLBTIU community.
On the same day that João was killed, two other gays were beaten and a transvestite was murdered in the same state.
In the past year 312 GLBTIU-related murders have been reported in Brazil ... one murder every 28 hours ... according to a report released by Grupo Gay da Bahia.
Outrage has swept the nation, adding fuel to the campaign for legislation to outlaw homophobic discrimination and violence.
At the Hollywood Temple of Antinous, the founder of the modern religion of Antinous, ANTONIUS SUBIA, said:
"My prayer goes out to Antinous to take João Donati into his embrace, to give him a place of glory and bliss and show him that the world is not merely a place of hatred and violence, but that love still exists here.
"May his short beautiful life prove to be a changing point for Brazil, may his violent death awaken his country to the darkness and hatred that has infiltrated their society. May he be a martyr whose violent death brings an end to such things in the future."