So-called 'gender ideology' under fire from extreme right

2 June 2019

Peru’s right is once again seeking to mobilise public opinion, ostensibly over the government’s education and gender policies. It comes at a time when tensions between the conservative opposition in Congress and the Vizcarra administration have reached new levels.

On 24 May, members of the ultra-conservative group that calls itself #Con mis hijos no te metas (which roughly translates as Don’t Mess with our Children) held a march in the centre of Lima which ended up occupying the Plaza Bolivar, outside the Congress building.

The march responded to a ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the inclusion within the national curriculum of measures to enhance gender equality in education. The Court’s decision came after it ruled inadmissible an appeal by the collective Padres de Acción that sought to reverse changes to the school curriculum introduced by the education ministry.

#Con mis hijos no te metas defines itself as “a citizens’ collective created in response to the gender ideology being imposed on children through the education sector across different countries”. It is backed by conservative elements in the Catholic and evangelical churches and has gained a strong presence in social media. Although its origins are unclear, it appears to have a presence across Latin America, using the same name and logo in a variety of different countries.

It campaigns against what it calls a dangerous “gender ideology” being forced upon their children in schools. According to a newspaper article written by Carlos Bedoya in 2017, the central message of #Con mis hijos no te metas is that “gender ideology” risks turning school children into homosexuals or encouraging “other sexual identities that are different to their sexuality at birth”.

The movement opposes abortion, sexual identity education and LGBTI. Its main modus operandi is through mass social media campaigns that call people to take part in protest marches and to place banners and placards in strategic places. Some involve deliberately shocking statements such as that such a gender focus is synonymous with anal sex.

The movement not only organises mass gatherings but is involved in strategic lobbying inside the government to promote its conservative agenda, particularly to achieve changes in education policies.

 

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