The Crusade Seeking to Deny Education Rights in Chile

to children and adolescents

Don’t mess with my children!

By Andrés Kogan Valderrama

HAVANA TIMES – The crusade of certain anti-rights sectors has unfortunately increased in Chile over time, through different religious and extreme right-wing organizations, which see any policy that seeks to install inclusive practices and a targeted agenda as a threat to different groups historically invisible, reaching the extreme of wanting to prohibit the discussion of certain topics considered inopportune.

This is the case of a campaign to summon support for a letter called “Sign against ESI (Comprehensive Sexual Education)”, on the part of different groups opposed to discussing the possibility of even thinking about a possible national policy in this regard, which would fill a gap at the curricular level in this matter, being the students the most affected and vulnerable.

Hence, reviewing the arguments of the letter, the president is requested not to send a bill on comprehensive sexual education to the Chamber of Deputies, since it would not be a priority, as are violence and school dropouts, showing a gaze incapable of seeing everything relationally, as the Ministry of Education is doing with the Educational Reactivation Plan.

Likewise, the letter goes further and shows its real conservative and anti-state purposes, by pointing out how serious it would supposedly be to promote a non-sexist education in schools. They say it would violate the preferential right of parents to educate their children, which following their argument, the right of the students would not have any importance, thus showing a crude adult-centric look on the matter.

In other words. It seems that these reactionary sectors want to veto a public discussion, since a group of people came up with the idea that the school should not be a space to work on sexuality in an integral way. The stance is based on a series of myths, full of prejudices and misinformation, repeated over and over again through traditional media and socio-digital platforms.

To name just a few myths of these groups, they claim that Comprehensive Sex Education would encourage students to start their sexual life early, to eliminate any notion that they have about men and women and to forcefully turn students into homosexuals, as if it were a policy of school indoctrination.

Nothing is further from reality, since what a comprehensive sexual education seeks is precisely to provide clear information to students on different aspects of sexuality, but always taking into account the age and progressive autonomy of each one, although these sectors continue to intentionally providing false information.

At the same time, a comprehensive sexual education does not seek to deny the existence of men and women, but rather seeks to make visible different identities and expressions of gender, which are part of diversity and human richness. Such becomes very necessary to break with stereotypes, mandates and fixed gender roles that only generate discrimination and violence to those who do not comply with what is expected.

For this reason, from this existing plurality, at no time is it intended to impose a single type of sexual orientation on anyone. On the contrary, what is attempted is to generate inclusive spaces for the LGBTIQ+ community, which according to multiple studies, continue to suffer humiliations and exclusions in educational establishments and in their own families.

Consequently, the arguments for denying the discussion of a comprehensive sexual education project are so inconsistent that it would be just as ridiculous to prohibit drug use prevention from being carried out in schools arguing that it would encourage substance use and seek for students to put their physical and mental health at risk.

Having said the above, the fact that President Boric sends a comprehensive sexual education project, more than promoting a particular agenda, responds to a historical debt of the State of Chile with children and adolescents, whose rights have been violated. Rights that instead should be guaranteed in educational establishments, as is the case in various countries around the world that have understood their obligations.

Let’s continue working for and from the educational communities without taboos and subjects prohibited by anyone. Students deserve a sexual education throughout their school cycle, which goes far beyond the biologist and sanitary perspective that is currently held in Chile. To open the conversation in a comprehensive way, not giving in to some authoritarian groups that want to impose their gaze on the rest.

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