Dear Azorean LGBT community,
Congratulations on the inauguration of Pride Azores LGBT Association, it is long overdue. In 1496 King Manuel ordered the expulsion of all Jews and Muslims from Portugal. He wanted everyone to be the same, apostolic Roman Catholics. For the next three centuries the Inquisition persecuted New Christians, Muslims, Protestants, and gays and lesbians. Over 3,000 people were burned at the stake. Over 40,000 people were imprisoned, many of whom were tortured.
The Inquisition was abolished in 1821 by a liberal Parliament but it came back in the form of the secret police during the Salazar era. Many gays and lesbians were exiled to Castro Marim in the Algarve. After the April 1974 Carnation Revolution the persecution stopped but discrimination has not ended. Only recently have gays and lesbians been granted the right to marry, but they still cannot adopt children. Many are afraid of societal repression if they come out. This oppression must stop. Tolerance and diversity must be the guiding principles. Pride Azores is a giant step forward. I wish you all every success.
Comendador Manuel Azevedo, native of Pico, Azores