With music blaring from more than 20 sound trucks, hundreds of thousands of people danced and marched through Sao Paulo Sunday in what was billed Latin America's biggest gay pride parade.
Police estimated the number of people at 400,000, twice as many that took part in last year's parade.
Gay pride day was officially opened by Sao Paulo's left-leaning mayor, Marta Suplicy, who in a brief speech said she was proud of being the mayor of a city that serves as a showcase for gay rights.
A phalanx of women motorcycle drivers belonging to the Association of Women Who Love Women opened the parade on Avenida Paulista, one of Sao Paulo' main avenues.
Waving rainbow flags and dancing to the sound of disco and techno beats, the multitude of gay men, lesbians, transvestites and drag queens marched some three miles for show at the Praca da Republica, a downtown square that is home to many gay bars and clubs.
Organizers attributed the huge turnout to the presence of heterosexuals who sympathize with the gay rights movement.
"Heterosexual couples are here with their children because they don't want them to grow up with prejudice," said Beto de Jesus, president of the Association for GLBT Pride. GLBT stands for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals "They (heterosexuals) are important opinion makers that help demystify and shatter stereotypes."
For Rogerio Munoz, one of the association's directors, the parade was a way to "show our pride and protest the discrimination we face in Brazil."