Buenos Aires sued for banning gender-neutral language in schools

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A reveler takes part in the 30th Pride Parade in Buenos Aires on November 6, 2021. (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP) (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images)

Authorities in Buenos Aires are being sued after banning the teaching of non-sexist language in schools.

Local officials have been collectively sued by political groups after banning teachers from calling students “chic@s”, “chiqxs” or “chiques”.

Groups including the Argentinian LGBT Federation called the move a “human rights violation”, saying the move excluded gender non-conforming people from classrooms.

The telegraph reported that the founder of the Argentinian LGBT Federation, Maria Rachid, said: “The city government could not explain how banning the use of non-exclusive language in schools would violate laws municipal and national.

“We are totally confident that we are going to win this case,” she continued.

Officials claimed the terms are confusing for children and argued that they could be linked to a recent drop in test scores, but did not cite any specific research to support that claim.

Despite the restrictive measures, teachers in Buenos Aires, including a transgender teacher from the neighborhood of Palmero, have pledged to continue using inclusive language despite threats of disciplinary action.

According the telegraph, Argentina’s national education minister called the power sexist, unfair and comparable to bans on left-handers under Franco’s military dictatorship in Spain.

The South American country initially rolled out its gender-neutral markers on passports and national identity documents in 2021, with President Alberto Fernández demanding respect for non-binary people.

“There are other identities than that of man and woman, and they must be respected,” he said at a ceremony in Buenos Aires. Her ruling allowed individuals to use an “X” marker as opposed to a binary gender signifier for their identity documentation.

According to the decree published in Argentina’s official gazette, it was introduced for any Argentinian who “does not feel understood under the male/female binary”, including non-binary, intersex and gender diverse people.

President Fernández continued: “The ideal will be that we all be who we are and that no one cares about people’s gender. [There are a] a thousand ways to love, to be loved and to be happy.

It was the first country in South America to introduce gender-neutral signifiers, which has been hailed by activists calling it a ‘historic breakthrough and claiming that Argentina remains at the forefront of respect for rights of man”.


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