Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to remove any references to LGBT+ people from school textbooks and exams.
Bolsonaro and his government has revealed plans to erase all mentions of homosexuality, feminism and violence against women from the texts, and is set to allow the military to take over some public schools, according to Associated Press.
The right-wing demagogue voiced his desire to wipe out the legacy of liberal Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire during his campaign, promising to “enter the Education Ministry with a flamethrower to remove Paulo Freire.”
“One of the goals to take Brazil from the worst positions in the world’s education rankings is to combat the Marxist waste that has spread in educational institutions”
— Jair Bolsonaro
On the eve of his January 1 inauguration, Bolsonaro re-emphasised his position, tweeted: “One of the goals to take Brazil from the worst positions in the world’s education rankings is to combat the Marxist waste that has spread in educational institutions.
“Together with the Minister of Education and others involved we will evolve into creating citizens and no more political militants.”
He also reportedly stated in a YouTube video that he would eradicate questions on gender or LGBT+ movements from Brazil’s national high school exam.
After reading a question from last year’s paper about the Pajuba dialect commonly used by the Brazilian LGBT+ community, Bolsonaro said: “Don’t worry, there won’t be any more questions like this.”
Education Minister Ricardo Velez Rodriguez has also stated his anti-LGBT aims, saying during his inauguration speech that he wanted to end the “aggressive promotion of the gender ideology.”
Jair Bolsonaro won the presidency after making numerous anti-LGBT statements
Bolsonaro, who has described himself as “homophobic and very proud of it,” came to power following a groundswell of Trump-style support, despite his extreme and frequent attacks on LGBT+ people.
The politician told Playboy in 2011 that he would rather his son die than be gay, saying: “I would be incapable of loving a gay son. I prefer that he die in an accident.”
While campaigning for the presidency last year, Bolsonaro told Time that he stood by his claim that he would punch gay people if he saw them kissing in public.
The candidate said: “I do not kiss my wife on the street. Why face society? Why take that into the school? Little children of 6 or 7, watching two men kiss as the government wanted them to do. Is this democracy?”
He then equated homosexuality to paedophilia, making a link which is historically popular among homophobes and has experienced a resurgence over the past year, thanks to alt-right trolls.
The politician, who served as an army captain under Brazil’s brutal 21-year-long dictatorship, said: “So let’s respect the paedophile’s right to have sex with a two-year-old? Would that unite [Brazil]?”