For Jean Wyllys, peace comes only at night, in the darkness, when he can close his eyes and drift into a world he has left behind.
Perhaps he’ll dream of Bahia, the northeastern Brazilian state where he was born and raised. Or of Rio de Janeiro, the ”Cidade Maravilhosa” that he adopted as his own. Some nights, he’ll think of his mother or his friends; others, of his months-old nephew he can’t wait to help raise.
Maybe his mind will wander to Brasília, and the Brazilian Congress, where he made history as one of his country’s first openly gay federal legislators and became a fierce advocate for the people who grew up like him: gay in a country still struggling to accept LGBTQ people; multiracial in a nation where racism is an oft-ignored fact of life; poor in one of the world’s most unequal places; gay, half-black and impoverished in a Brazil where any one of those qualities is often deadly.
Then his eyes will open, and Wyllys will jolt back to a harsh reality. He does not know where he is.