ON September 10th we remember the brutal mutilation murder of a gay teenager on this date in 2014 in Brazil ... the first official saint of Antinous in Brazil.
The death of 18-year-old JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI galvanized worshipers of Antinous into proclaiming him the first martyr saint of Antinous in Brazil.
His severely beaten body was found in the city of Inhumas in the state of Goiás with his neck fractured and both legs broken and 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.
His horrific bruises, lacerations and contusions showed that he had put up a desperate struggle against his attackers.
On the same day that João was killed, two other gays were beaten and a transvestite was murdered in the same state. But the images of João's smiling Facebook selfies instantly touched the hearts of millions.
Outrage swept the nation, with protest marches and vigils held in numerous cities.
Brazil has the largest Antinous faith community in the non-English speaking world, and adherents of Antinous have taken the unprecedented move of proclaiming João the first Saint of Antinous in Brazil.
Brazilian Novitiate Priest DECO RIBEIRO says more than 300 LGBTIU victims of homophobic murders were reported in Brazil in 2015 alone, though the true figure is unknown.
"Hundreds more have died since then," says Deco. "Each and every one of these is a martyr who is symbolized by João Antônio Donati. He was a vibrant young man filled with all the hopes and dreams of so many his age, and who became yet another victim of homophobia in Brazil, and who so deeply touched us that we have been moved to initiate something in our country that has long been in the offing: the Declaration of Apotheosis and canonization of the martyrs of homophobia in Brazil."
Noting that anti-gay hate crimes and murders are frequent in Brazil, Deco says: "This is the first statement and official nomination amid many others that will follow continuously over time honoring the names of many victims who have died in the past and who inevitably will be murdered in the future."
Though Brazil passed same-sex marriage into law in May 2014, homophobic attacks and transphobic attacks are still common.