Míriam Martinho was born in 1954 and is one of Brazil’s pioneering feminists and a leading figure in the Brazilian homosexuality movement. Feminism in Brazil became active in the mid seventies and in 1979, Míriam founded Brazil’s first lesbian feminist group, Grupo Lésbico-Feminista. The group parted ways in 1981, but members who remained contributed to ChanacomChana, Brazil’s first activist newspaper, started by Míriam. The publication is often described as the driving force behind the event that is often referred to as ‘Brazil’s Stonewall’. In August 1983, a protest was held against Ferro’s Bar, known for its lesbian clientele, in São Paulo, because they refused to allow ChanacomChana to be distributed. Martin and Roth staged a demonstration, calling together artists, intellectuals and lawyers, to protest.
Since the 1990s, Míriam’s activism has taken a focus on women’s healthcare – particularly that of lesbians. As many lesbians in Brazil do not disclose their sexuality to health professionals, they are an at risk group.
In 2003, Míriam presented research for periodic review of the state of the LGBT population in Brazil. Her report was highlighted by the US State Department and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada in their evaluation. She has written numerous articles for LGBT and feminist journals since the mid 80s.
Originally published in Vada Magazine. Republished with permission.