Professional bodybuilder Marcelo Clua is 28 years old. He has worked for nine years in the special forces division of Brazil's military police. He has negotiated the release of hostages in kidnappings and prison riots. But Clua has a problem. He is also an erotic dancer. He takes his clothes off for money, in nightclubs and for magazines. And that, say his police superiors, just won't do. Last week he was fired after Homen (Man), a gay men's publication, ran photos of Clua wearing nothing more than his personal baton.
Clua claims that his dismissal was based on discrimination. He took the nude gigs, he says, because he was making only 600 reis ($332) a month as a police officer. And he hid his identity by posing for the magazine under the name "Michael Dias." His sideline career was driven purely by financial reasons, he insists, and had nothing to do with the fact that drunken, overweight women might scream and holler to see his onstage penis, or that lonely gay men could possibly masturbate to his naked image.
"Why can't I pose naked and be a police officer?" Clua told a news agency. "The truth is, they think I'm gay because I posed in a gay magazine. That's why they fired me."
A police official explained the department's actions to Brazil's media, saying that the nude photo spread in Homen fell under the military police's strict category of "insubordination."
Clua's situation is not isolated, and has become something of a syndrome in Brazil. Several of the country's top soccer stars have posed nude in gay magazines, resulting in reprimands from their coaches. Goalkeeper Roger de Noronta Silva of the São Paulo team was fired last year after his centerfold spread appeared in G magazine.
Clua is now asking human rights organizations to help him regain his police job. While his case sits on appeal, he continues to strip in clubs.