Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has promised to remove LGBTQ+ content from the South American country’s high school curriculum as part of a greater purge of what he calls “Marxist rubbish” from schools, the Associated Press reports.
Bolsonaro, whose assault on LGBTQ+ Brazilians and other marginalized groups began the day he took office Jan. 1, said that he plans to remove references to feminism, homosexuality, and violence against women from state textbooks. He also said that he plans to comb through the content of Brazil’s national high school exam after learning that a question about Pajubá, an Afro-Brazilian slang language spoken by many LGBTQ+ Brazilians, was included in last year’s exam. “There won’t be any more questions like this,” he said in a YouTube video.
The president’s education minister, Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez, has also spoken out against what he calls the “aggressive promotion of the gender ideology,” conservative rhetoric used by Bolsonaro and others to decry feminism and LGBTQ+ rights that poses its beneficiaries — queer people, trans people, and women — enemies of the state.
“We are still waiting to see how, in practice, all this is going to turn out,” said teachers’ union president Nilton Brandao. “Right now, it does not make any sense.”
Laws banning the instruction of LGBTQ+ material aren’t a uniquely Brazilian phenomenon. Seven states in the U.S. have what GLSEN calls “No Homo Promo Laws” on the books, which seek to remove any positive mention of queerness from sexual health curricula. South Dakota state lawmakers also recently introduced a bill that would ban instruction on gender dysphoria from grades kindergarten through seventh, effectively banning instruction on trans people. That bill awaits a House vote.