A gay man instead of a sexy woman is to lead the Rio Carnival this year and will wear an LGBT-inspired rainbow-coloured costume, with men dressed in Ku Klux Klan hoods following behind him.
The Academicos do Sossego samba school has chosen a man to be the flag bearer for their performance at the world-famous Carnival in the Brazilian city of Rio De Janeiro.
The school’s president, Wallace Palhares, said the move to name a man as the flag bearer, a role traditionally reserved for women, was aimed at breaking down prejudice and the school’s performance will be based around the words: “Don’t mess with my faith. I believe in whoever I want.”
Reports state Anderson Morango, 38, will be the samba school’s first male flag bearer at the Carnival and the only one in Rio this year.
Morango will reportedly wear a rainbow-coloured outfit as he folds the flag for the school and he will be followed by men dressed in black cloaks and pointed hats inspired by the Ku Klux Klan.
The flag bearer said: “The storyline of the school’s performance talks about religious intolerance and our president wants to test how far our intolerance will go against another, the prejudice within carnival.
“He invited me to take the role, I thought it was strange at first, but I accepted immediately. Gays cannot only make costumes, they can dance too.”
Palhares said: “It will be like they are being chased by the ‘executioners’, who kill in the name of faith.”
He added: “In the beginning, women did not have a space at carnival. It was only for female pastors, but they fought for it and achieved it. I think that the time has arrived for gays to occupy their space. I want to bring that reflection. I chose Anderson because he sees himself as a woman, he’s a flag bearer and he shows extreme competence in his work. I want to create a homage to diversity.”
Academicos do Sossego will be the last samba school to walk the parade tonight [Friday].
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Story By: Alex Cope, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News