6/28/15 — Two days after the US legalized gay marriage, and 46 years after the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, LGBT activists gathered in Copacabana to march in defense of their civil rights. Gay marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, and same-sex unions were legalized in 2004. Despite legal gains, one LGBT person […]

Bieber’s Brothel Visit


Justin Bieber visited a brothel this weekend in Rio de Janeiro, and if anyone out there has doubts as to whether the place he went to was actually a brothel, I can confirm it for you. Justin Bieber went to a brothel. But not just any brothel. Centaurus, two blocks from the sand in Ipanema Beach […]

Brazil’s #1 Puta


Gabriela Leite 04/22/1951 – 10/10/2013 Gabriela inaugurated a way of being and doing politics. Born into a middle class family in São Paulo, she left her college studies in 1970s to work in prostitution. In the late 1970s, she organized the first protests against the frequent human rights abuses she witnessed among her colleagues. Gabriela […]

Unhappy Prostitutes

Maria Sem Vergonha montage

POLITICAL PROSTITUTES AND SHAMEFUL POLITICIANS Laura Murray is a filmmaker, activist and PhD student studying sex worker activism and politics in Brazil. In an expansion on her blog post published at akissforgabriela.com, Laura explains how the Brazilian Minister of Health celebrated International Prostitute’s Day in June – by censoring an HIV prevention campaign: June has been a month of […]

Hotel Paris

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PARIS IN LIMBO: French hotelier François-Xavier Dussol invites me to capture the final days of abandon at the Hotel Paris before it breathes new life as downtown Rio’s first 5-star hotel. The wreckage is beautiful. We enter an unmarked door next to a mattress store bathed in limelight. A sign behind the reception reads, “It is prohibited to walk the […]

Phone Sex


“Horrific,” he says. “How is a child supposed to use this phone? “ I’m in Praça Tiradentes in downtown Rio, and I’ve just taken this picture of phone sex… public phones adorned inside and sometimes out with sex ads, mostly for travestis, as far as I can see… one of the last visible vestiges of a sex […]

Bonde das Maravilhas


Meet the tween queens behind Brazil’s butt training meme.  I first heard about the Bonde Das Maravilhas (literally “Train of Wonders”) last year from a lady giving me a bikini wax in Copacabana Beach. When she found out I like funk music, she told me I had to check out this group of girls on YouTube […]

The Gay Pride Parade


Sunday afternoon in Copacabana Beach and I’m out at sea. The sound of Rihanna blasting from a thousand speakers draws me in to shore. Let’s take a closer look! I have just paddleboarded into the 17th Annual Gay Pride Parade. IT’S A CELEBRATION BITCHES!! Thirteen semis with sound systems brought to you by Grupo Arco-Iris. […]

Gay (Money) is Good


Rio is the hottest gay travel spot on the planet. True or False? I asked Gregory Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Williams College and resident expert on gay sex tourism in Brazil, to confirm or deny media claims that Rio is the hottest gay travel destination on the planet. A reply […]

Sayonara Centauros


  Luxury brothel smackdown in Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic City takes aim at a pricey brothel popular with tourists in its latest effort to clean up Rio’s image abroad. In my first story for The Atlantic’s new city-specific edition, AtlanticCities, I report on the Rio+20 raids, where an ultra-expensive sauna brothel called Centaurus, along […]