Education policies in Brazil

Mountian, I.
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Publication date: 
Friday, 14 March, 2014


Rio De Janeiro

This audit analyses key aspects of public policies in education and sexuality in Brazil, which have been designed as part of the wider programme Brazil Without Homophobia (BWH – Programa Brasil sem Homofobia), launched in 2004.

Tackling homophobia and its cultural and social effects has been highlighted by a number of authors as an important policy strategy. This is because it contributes to the elimination of discrimination and exclusion experienced by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) people and curtails the negative effects of homophobia on poverty levels and on people’s access to basic needs (SIDA and Jolly 2010; Armas 2007).

This report presents an analysis of public education policies and considers where these policies intersect with programmes aimed at preventing and reducing discrimination and violence against LGBT people. The first part of the report details the current Brazilian social context focusing on: levels of inequality and poverty; educational indicators; data on homophobic violence; and an assessment of dogmatic religious discourses that are increasingly affecting policymaking and implementation in areas pertaining to sexuality. The report then considers the intersection of education policies with sexuality, and examines this intersection in relation to national policy measures aimed at tackling homophobia.

  • Research indicates that many trans young people, and poor trans youth in particular, drop out of education or under perform due to bullying and violence in Brazilian schools.
  • Religious moral conservatism has played a big part in the failure of the 2004 'Brazil without Homophobia' programme to achieve its objectives of combating discrimination and supporting sexual diversity in the education system.
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