Moves by Brazilian samba schools to provide separate toilets for gay, lesbian and transgender people have divided the GLBT community in the country.

Unidos da Tujuca, one of Brazil’s most prestigious samba schools, and four others so far, have provided the bathrooms for dancers preparing for the Rio Carnival in March.

Gay, lesbian and transgender people may use the regular bathrooms at the schools, and the head of one of the schools claims they were introduced on the request of some of their GLBT carnival dancers.

However the head of the Brazilian Government Program to End Homophobia has compared the move to racial segregation.

Claudio Nascimento told reporters from the GloboNews television channel that the bathrooms represented “carnival apartheid.”

A gay man and a transgender woman interviewed by GloboNews were divided on whether the bathrooms were a good thing, with the man saying they encouraged discrimination, while the woman said she would feel a lot safer using one.

Although one of the most gay friendly countries on the South American continent, homophobic violence is widespread in Brazil, with over 200 GLBTs being murdered in the country last year.

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