Achievements and Challenges in the Production and Use of Evidence for the Promotion of LGBTQIA+ Rights in Brazil

11 Jun 2024

This interview is part of the initiative “Resonating Voices: Listening to the Voices of Evidence Users in the LAC Region”. The project is a collaborative effort with the LAC Hub acting as the implementer and Overton as the funder. In this conversation, the LAC Hub engages with Dayana Brunetto, from Brazil.

Dayana Brunetto - Coordenadora Geral de Promoção dos Direitos das Pessoas LGBTQIA+
Dayana Brunetto is a teacher, researcher, and activist with a master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral degree in education from UFPR. She is part of the Scientific Committee of ANPED – National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Education. Currently, she is the General Coordinator for the Promotion of LGBTQIA+ Rights at the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship of Brazil.

Working in the new National Secretariat for LGBTQIA+ Rights has been a challenging and rewarding experience at the same time. It is the first secretariat for LGBTQIA+ rights in the world, so it is very much in focus, both due to conservatism and from other parts of the world, for being the first structure in a second level of government to take care of these policies and these people, as well as transforming their lives.

In our secretariat, we face a series of priority issues that directly impact our work, our objectives, and mainly LGBTQIA+ people. One of them is the absence of data or the insufficiency and instability of available data. Although IBGE data addresses sexual orientation, usually it is the head of the family who responds, so if it is a lesphobic father or mother, for example, they will not say that their daughter is lesbian, contributing to an underreporting of this data.

Another priority problem is tackling the powerful effect of hate speech in society, especially regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. The spread of the so-called “gender ideology” has harmed the gender approach by teachers, researchers, leading to the devaluation of research and the persecution of professionals in the field.

One of our main efforts is the production of stable and reliable data. Together with ANPEd – National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Education – and other organizations, we created a standard form that can be used by public bodies to collect relevant information about these groups. The form was approved by the National Human Rights for LGBTQIA+ Council, and we are working on a technical note with an opinion sent to all public bodies that collect data, with suggestions for questions, for its implementation. However, we face institutional obstacles and resistance from those who do not share our values and objectives.

In this process, we seek different sources of information and scientific evidence to support our decisions. We also have the support of the National Human Rights Observatory and ReneDH – National Network of Evidence in Human Rights, which was established within the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship – MDHC. One of the approaches we have adopted is to work in partnership with specialized consultancies. We believe that these partnerships can fill important gaps and provide us with valuable insights.

A significant example of research conducted by organized social movements is the National LesboCensus, a fundamental academic activist research to establish a concrete government agenda, culminating in the creation of the National Agenda for Combating Lesbofobia and Lesbo-Hate. An inter-ministerial partnership together with the Ministry of Racial Equality, Ministry of Women, and with the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples.

The census revealed impactful data, indicating that eight out of ten lesbians in Brazil have already experienced lesbophobia, with 21,050 responses nationwide. These results have driven debates and actions in areas such as health, education, and public safety. The next phase involves interviews to deepen the quantitative data and political training to promote evidence-informed public policies.

We also established the National Council for LGBTQIA+ Rights, with 38 representations, 19 from the government and 19 from social movements. We believe that public policy needs evidence from social participation, which is who is in the territory. Therefore, we establish a continuous dialogue between the social movement and the government, ensuring that the proposed policies are viable and effective.


One of the main barriers we face is the effects of hate speech in society. This speech permeates various spaces, including public administration, university, and school, making it more difficult to implement evidence-based policies in this area. This reality is especially painful for those working with human rights, as we confront the denial of the right to equality and respect for human dignity daily.

Another significant challenge is the restricted budget and the lack of consensus on the importance of investing in evidence and research, which impact not only the obtaining of evidence but all our activities. However, even with limited resources, we seek to carry out training and initiatives that promote the fight against transphobia and other forms of discrimination.

The negotiation for data production also ends up being a barrier because we still have a lot of confusion with the main concepts that minimally systematize our subjectivity, as LGBTQIA+ subjects, in addition to our agenda not being agreed upon by a broad front of political actors. Therefore, this theoretical, epistemological, and political confusion adds to the issue of conservatism, which is moralism, which hinders many data collection stages.


Despite these barriers, I recognize that there are opportunities to advance in this process. One of them is strengthening partnerships with social movements, academia, and international organizations, which can provide support and expertise in the production and use of evidence. Additionally, we must seek creative alternatives to institutionalize evidence-informed practices, even in the face of a lack of legislative support.

There is still much work to be done to overcome these barriers and ensure that our policies are informed by solid evidence and directed to the real needs of the population. We believe that, with a collaborative and evidence-informed approach, we can make significant progress in promoting rights and addressing inequalities.

Regarding researchers, it is important for them to establish effective dialogue with the people and communities affected by the research topic, even if they are not necessarily part of that group. It is not necessary to be a specific subject to research a certain topic, but it is essential to listen to and understand the experiences and perspectives of the people involved. Researchers must be open and receptive to changes and movements in society, adapting and learning from these continuous transformations.

There is also a need for collaboration between researchers and decision-makers at all levels, from federal to local levels, to ensure that policies and decisions are informed by robust and relevant evidence.

As for decision-makers, there needs to be an ethical-political commitment to providing quality services to everyone, regardless of their personal beliefs. Additionally, it is important to provide adequate training for professionals involved in public policies and the need to listen to and consider the evidence and experiences of users of public services to ensure equity. Decisions made should be informed by evidence and respect the human rights of all.

It is of paramount importance not to violate human rights and to consider the profound consequences of discriminatory acts, such as exclusions, offensive jokes, and disdainful looks, which can have serious impacts, including suicide. Therefore, it is crucial to promote and protect human rights in all actions and decisions.

As an advocate of “small revolutions,” I believe in the importance of transforming spaces and groups gradually and constantly. Our Secretariat is committed to leaving a positive legacy, and I firmly believe that investing in evidence and data is fundamental to achieving this goal. It is a challenging journey, but I am determined to move forward, fighting for a more just and equal future.

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