Ben Cowan, assistant professor of history, spoke at a public hearing held by Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade, CNV) on March 29th.
Entitled “Ditadura e Homossexualidade no Brasil” (Dictatorship and Homosexuality in Brazil) the event took place at São Paulo’s historic Memorial of the Resistance, a museum and exhibit space house in what was once a detention and torture center controlled by Brazil’s fearsome secret police. A panel of six activists and historians, Dr. Cowan among them, recounted for the Commission’s and the public’s benefit the ways in which the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) repressed gay and lesbian rights movements, including instances of torture, death, and disappearance of individuals. Dr. Cowan presented the historical context that his research has illuminated, arguing that homophobia represented part of a framework of anticommunist moralism that pervaded the more violent, hard-line sectors of the military regime.
May 13, 2014