Browse all

Bremer wore Brazil's number 24 for the first time at a World Cup

A taboo that the South American national team has carried with it since the dawn of its history

Bremer wore Brazil's number 24 for the first time at a World Cup A taboo that the South American national team has carried with it since the dawn of its history

Before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, Brazil's jersey was at the centre of a political debate that questioned the unifying origin of the greenoro colour adopted in 1952 after the Maracanazo drama. Before last October's parliamentary elections, which saw leftist candidate Lula triumph, the colours of the Selecao uniform were seen as a symbol of the extreme right represented by outgoing president Bolsonaro. The now former governor of Brazil, in fact, uses yellow as the main colour of his party and furthermore, the militias of this political branch began to use the Brazilian national team jerseys as their representative uniform. The left-wing associations claimed the true nature of the greenoro colours and Nike itself, the kit's producer, tried to depoliticise the jersey by suspending the service of printing politicians' names on the shoulders last August. In addition, the American company used sport and pop culture icons belonging to opposite poles in the presentation campaign of the uniform entitled 'Veste a Garra'. 

And in the course of the World Cup in Qatar, the Brazil jersey once again took centre stage. This time in a much more positive light. For the first time in a World Cup, a Selecao player took the field wearing the number 24. It was Gleison Bremer, who in the match against Cameroon broke a taboo that the South American national team had been carrying around since the dawn of its history. The reason? An old homophobic prejudice that saw that number associated with homosexuality, which in Brazil until 2019 was still considered a crime. The South American country is still mentally and ideologically closed-minded in this respect, so much so that daily we witness shameful scenes of discrimination even in the world of football. 

But why is 24 associated with homosexuality in Brazil? Everything can be traced back to an illegal game of chance born in 1892, the so-called 'Jogo do bicho', a kind of bingo where each animal corresponded to a number. And the 24 was associated with the deer, a species with homosexual traits and behaviour. Moreover, Veado, the word for animal in Portuguese, has a similar sound (viado) to the Spanish equivalent of the pejorative 'maricón', which means gay. In Brazil, it is common to joke when a man is born on the 24th of the month or when he occupies the 24th seat at the cinema or on the bus. A prejudice so ingrained that when boys turn 24, they often prefer to use the formula 23+1.

It was then Bremer's turn to break this taboo, precisely in an edition of the World Cup marked by strong controversy related to LGBTQ+ rights. And thanks to the Juventus defender, that jersey has now become a symbol of redemption and vindication for the Brazilian homosexual community, so much so that it has become almost as valuable as Pelé's '10'. After the match, the defender himself tried to give little fanfare to his choice by declaring that 'it's just another jersey', but his gesture is nevertheless seen as very important for the LGBTQ+ community.