A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Brazil.
For the first time in history, Mogi das Cruzes—a city on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil—hosted an LGBTQ Pride parade. According to the organizers, about 10,000 people walked in the parade during the six hours that it lasted on Sunday, April 29. For the Mogiano LGBTQ Forum, which organized the event, it was a historic moment. For years, they’d tried to create an LGBTQ Council within the local government, but city hall had consistently barred the project from happening. Mogi das Cruzes is home to 450,000 residents, is a largely impoverished area, and is far more conservative than other cities in the region, including São Paulo itself. It’s also home to a very religious population, with Catholicism as the dominant faith.
Despite disapproval from government officials, the parade kicked off in a spirit of political dissent, with several drag queens leading the way. There were speeches about setbacks in Brazil, and calls for civil rights for members of the LGBTQ community, and criticism of religious fundamentalists. When the master of ceremonies, a drag queen named Tchaka, half-jokingly called for a new, transgender mayor, the crowd roared in approval. Three of the city’s 22 councilmembers joined in the festivities, but the mayor of Mogi das Cruzes, Marcos Melo of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDE), didn’t make an appearance.
You can see more photos from the parade below.