The number of same-sex marriages have surged in Brazil following the election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in October, who will be sworn in as president on 1 January, 2019.

During his campaign Bolsonaro, a self-described “proud homophobe”, said that defending “the true meaning of matrimony as a union between man and woman” was high on his agenda, stoking fears he would overturn a 2013 decision which legalised marriage equality.

In response to this threat to LGBTI legal rights, the Brazilian Bar Association’s head of sexual diversity Maria Berenice Dias said same-sex couples should “hurry up and formalise their union before the end of the year”, The New York Times reports.

And it seems the LGBTI community has heeded her warning.

In November there was a 66 per cent increase in same-sex marriages across the country, while Brazil’s largest city São Paulo played host to 57 same-sex weddings in just the first ten days of December, compared to 113 throughout the entire month in 2017.

Earlier this month Casa1, an LGBTI youth charity, raised money to put on a mass wedding ceremony which saw around 40 same-sex couples tie the knot.

“We’re combining our desire to love with our desire for revolution,” Luana Hansen, one of the women who got married, told AP News.

“We don’t know what Bolsonaro may do.”

This was just one of many group weddings LGBTI organisations have been organising around the country, as charities have been raising money to cover legal fees and pay for parties for low-income couples.

A number of photographers, wedding planners, cake-makers, and DJs have also been offering their services for free to couples struggling to put together weddings on short notice.

“It’s such a hard moment for LGBT people in Brazil, but we’re supporting each other – and we will make it through,” Vanessa Cafasso, a photographer who only recently got married herself, told The Guardian.

Bolsonaro’s vice-president Hamilton Mourão has claimed the incoming government has no plans to change the status of same-sex marriage.

While a number of legal experts, including University of São Paulo professor of civil rights and family law José Fernando Simão, have said that the constitution will prevail should there be any attempts to make same-sex marriage illegal, although he understands the rush to marry despite these reassurances.

“It’s natural for there to be concern. This is a community that has been ultra-marginalised in the past,” he told The New York Times.

While marriage is a concern for some, LGBTI organisations have also been raising money to help pay the notary fees of hundreds of transgender people attempting to legally change their name and gender before the new year.

“These rights are fragile,” Pedro Pires, a trans man who had previously put off changing his name due to the cost, told The Guardian.

“Once he takes office, we’re afraid we could lose them at any moment.”

That fear extends to worries Bolsonaro’s election will empower a resurgence in anti-LGBT rhetoric and violence, with his campaign already inspiring a spike in reports of verbal and physical attacks on members of the community.

“People now have this open homophobic discourse that they were too embarrassed to say before,” Aline Foguel told The New York Times.

“I’m so afraid of reliving a past that I thought we had already conquered. I’ve had panic attacks.”

According to gay rights organisation Grupo Gay da Bahia, 387 LGBTI people were killed in Brazil in 2017, the deadliest year on record. GGB fears 2018 will be even worse, with 300 killings already recorded as of October.

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