Brazilian Government's War against "Gender Ideology" Arrives in Foreign Policy

Itamaraty directs diplomats to emphasize that gender is biological sex

Patrícia Campos Mello
São Paulo

The Bolsonaro government opened a new front in the war against gender ideology: foreign policy.

Diplomats have received official instructions from Itamaraty in recent weeks to reiterate "the Brazilian government's understanding that the word gender means biological sex: female or male."

Gender theory states that gender and sexual orientation are social constructs, not just biological determinations. Already for segments on the right, "gender ideology" is an attack on the traditional concept of family.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo is pictured as he waits to meet his Uruguayan counterpart Rodolfo Nin Novoa at Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, on June 7, 2019. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP) - AFP

In at least two meetings, at the UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS, diplomats were instructed to emphasize to diplomats from other countries the Brazilian government's view on gender.

According to Itamaraty sources, the government formalized this instruction because it wants to avoid ambiguities. When contacted, Itamaraty said that it was only a resumption of the traditional definition of gender.

For Camila Asano, coordinator of Conectas Human Rights, this measure may "compromise the country's international credibility."

"If such an order is not immediately reversed, Brazil will join diplomacy that propagates retrograde positions in international spaces, ignoring national and global advances in the fight against inequalities and prejudices," he said.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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