Brazil transgender soccer team fights prejudice

In this May 13, 2019 photo, transgender Caua Fraga, 23, shows the tattoo on his chest that reads in Portuguese "Resistance", before a training session with the Bigtboys transgender mens football team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the two dozen BigtThe Associated Press
In this May 13, 2019 photo, transgender Caua Fraga, 23, shows the tattoo on his chest that reads in Portuguese "Resistance", before a training session with the Bigtboys transgender men's football team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the two dozen Bigtboys players, the training pitch is also one of the few places where they feel at ease and can talk about their experiences, good and bad, without fear. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

The Bigtboys transgender men's soccer team is counting on Brazil's love of soccer to help fight prejudice amid a growing conservative tide.

For the two dozen players, the training pitch is one of the few places where they can feel at ease and talk about their experiences without fear. But they also feel hopeful.

On Thursday, the country's Supreme Federal Court is set to finalize a ruling that extends a law against racism to shield gay and trans people.

Midfielder Robert Ismerim de Souza said: "It's not that I don't feel scared anymore, but now I know that the state is on our side. We can live; before we were only surviving."

The rights group Transgender Europe said 167 transgender men and women were killed last year in Brazil.