Paraguay has banned public schools from using or spreading materials on “gender ideology,” NBC News reports.
Much like Russia’s ban on “gay propaganda” that promotes “non-traditional relationships,” Paraguay’s “gender ideology” ban prevents the schools from teaching an LGBT-inclusive curriculum.
“We naturally respect different options, but we’re not going to instill them in our public schools,” education minister Enrique Riera told reporters at a press conference.
Riera, who says the government has a responsibility to promote “traditional families” consisting of a “father, mother, and children,” has also said he will burn any books that spread “gender ideology.” He believes the idea that “gender is a social construct” is problematic.
Somosgay, a Paraguayan LGBT advocacy organization, has condemned the ban, arguing that the term “gender ideology” was “invented by conservative groups to keep justifying violence and discrimination.”
The new ban defies the Montevideo Consensus, adopted by Paraguay and other Latin American nations in 2013, which requires countries to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Under cover of the malicious expression ‘gender ideology,’ what is really happening here is the suppression of education about equality and discrimination, which is an international obligation of the Paraguayan state,” says Amnesty International’s Erika Guevara Rosas. “Excluding education on equality from the curriculum is tantamount to state promotion of violence and discrimination, with extremely grave consequence. This decision represents an extremely dangerous backward step for human rights in the country.”
While same-sex sexual activity is legal in Paraguay, there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples or anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people.
In 2013 Paraguayan presidential hopeful Horacio Cartes, who is currently in office, was forced to apologize after saying that he would shoot himself if his son were gay.