Supreme Court Strikes Down Bigotry in Brazil’s Schools

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05/19/2020

Amid the public health crisis in the country, Brazil has recently achieved two significant victories for the right to education and the rights of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. On April 24, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 2015 law from Novo Gama, Goias state that banned learning materials with information on “gender ideology” in municipal schools. On May 8, the court struck down a similar part of a 2018 law from Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná state, prohibiting educational policies and school activities “likely to apply ‘gender ideology’ or the terms ‘gender’ or ‘sexual orientation.’” “Gender ideology” is a vacuous catch-all term generally intended to denote an ill-defined gay and feminist conspiracy to wreak havoc on traditional values. In Brazil, far-right movements and politicians have peddled disinformation to popularize the term. In the case of the Foz do Iguaçu law, the legislature also seems to have wanted to eliminate education about the realities of women and LGBT people by banning words used to describe their experiences.

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