Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has said he will remove all content from school textbooks referring to homosexuality, feminism, and violence against women.
The newly elected president foreshadowed the move in a pledge on the eve of his inauguration last month, tweeting, “One of the goals to get Brazil out of the worst positions in international education rankings is to combat the Marxist rubbish that has spread in educational institutions,” the Associated Press reported.
Since Bolsonaro took over as president on January 1, the Education Ministry has disbanded its diversity department and published new guidelines for textbook publishers should follow, removing any and all LGBTIQ-related content as well as topics on violence against women.
Bolsonaro said during his campaign he intends to wipe out liberal Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire’s teachings, a figure Bolsonaro blames for turning youth into “political militants”.
He announced in a YouTube video that he will review the schools’ content and remove any LGBTIQ-related questions. Reading a question from last year’s national high school exam pertaining to a secret dialect used by the country’s LGBTIQ community called Pajuba, he remarked, “Don’t worry, there won’t be any more questions like this.”
Bolsonaro also said that more of the country’s schools will be run by the military.
Nilton Brandao, president of one of Brazil’s largest teachers’ unions PROIFES Federacao, told the Associated Press, “We are still waiting to see how, in practice, all this is going to turn out.
“Right now, it does not make any sense.”
Bolsonaro has a long and shocking history of homophobic and misogynistic comments, including equating homosexuality to pedophilia and proclaiming he would rather his son die than be gay.
He has said he’s “proud” to be homophobic and previously criticised “gender-based ideology” as a threat to Brazil’s Christian values.
In December, it emerged that anxious Brazilian same-sex couples were rushing to get married before Bolsonaro’s inauguration on January 1.
Just hours after his inauguration on January 1, Bolsonaro signed an executive order removing LGBTIQ community issues from consideration by the new human rights ministry, and failed to name an agency in its place.
(Photo by Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr)
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