Transgender actress Renata Carvalho plays the role of Jesus in the play "The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, In this Sept. 27, 2017.
AP Photo/Andre Penner
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Contemporary art exhibitions and a play have become leading battlegrounds in a growing culture war in Brazil, whose fame for barely there bikinis masks a rising trend of conservatism.A play portraying Jesus as a transgender woman led protesters to leap onstage.Brazil's conservatism has been bolstered by the rise of evangelicals, a heavy-voting group that now accounts for one in five people – up from one in 20 a few decades ago in the world's most populous Catholic country.Activists have struggled to make Brazil a more open place for gays and women, and they gained some traction during the 2003-16 administrations of the left-leaning Workers' Party. "The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven" has been performed more than 60 times during a tour of Brazil, but conservatives have called it offensive to Christians and petitioned courts to ban it.As with so many social issues in Brazil, there are striking contradictions. While Sao Paulo boasts the largest gay pride parade in the world, Brazil also has some of Latin America's highest rates of violence against gay and transgender people.
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