Commentary

A Campaign on Gender Marched in Cuzco

The last weekend, in various cities of Peru, a march was held called “Con mis hijos no te metas.” This march has a rich title that is almost untranslatable directly into English, although the easiest might be “Don’t Mess with My Children.” Before this week I had only had only heard of this march from some flyers stuck on walls of the city of Cusco. The announcement called for a March 4 march against the “ideology of gender” that argue that is in the new curriculum of the Ministry of Education.

“Don’t Mess with My Children.” (Photo: El Comercio)
“Don’t Mess with My Children.” (Photo: El Comercio)

I ignored this because I had read the curriculum of regular basic education and found nothing alarming that really deserved a change in that sense. However, to see so many people protesting caught my attention.

It seems to me that there were more people than in previous marches against corruption or in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana. No doubt this march caught the attention of the city. There were streets in the center that were impassable, I was forced to get off public transport as the protest delayed all movement.

With curiosity I approached a group of people who in my opinion seemed very humble people, maybe from some other province or district of the department of Cusco. I noted that they were Quechua speakers. For my luck, just then the Cusco press was approaching another group of ladies nearby to ask them about the reason for their protest. My surprise was even greater when the humble mother interviewed, answered somewhat nervously in a poor Spanish, while trying to make sense of what someone had told her. I could understand what she said literally: “to be against their children teaching them to be male with male and female with female”.

In other circumstances this would have made me laugh because their fears are so different from what is in the curriculum, but other mothers supported what she said. They did not seem to understand what was really happening, in fact I doubt that they would have read some part of the basic education curriculum. I, as a teacher, had no reason to be indignant at the people present. I think they were victims of ignorance and manipulation, the journalists perceived it and went in search of some leader to ask a more coherent opinion.

I was fed up and left. At home I wanted to calm my indignation, then look for the other side of the coin, not everyone can be on the side of protest, much less if this is absurd; Then I came across different blogs and Facebook pages that were against the march #conmishijosnotemetas.

Some blamed international evangelical sects with headquarters in different parts of the country, sects with homophobic leaders, who had panicked their followers making them believe that their Children were to be “homosexualizados” “made homosexual” in the public schools. The idea was crazy, but I found nothing more coherent. People are alarmed because the leader of one of those sects that tells them it is something sinful.

These groups in Peru have a growing presence, even though Peru is a Catholic country. It would be better if ours were a secular state, but the possibility is remote, even the lyrics of the national anthem are impregnated with Catholicism.

In fact, in public education, the religion course is imposed and very few parents who know and practice the law wish to exonerate their children from this course. Future generations will continue to be educated under the yoke of The Catholic denomination. The treaty called a Concordato made by the Peruvian state with the Vatican state makes this possible.

Everything seemed an ideological and religious war until that moment, but there was another campaign that if not for my indignation would have gone unnoticed by me.

#IgualdadYRespetoParaTodos is definitely a campaign with less publicity, but that certainly promotes as its name says, equality and respect for all. This is exactly what the current curricular design is about.

I was calmer because not everyone was crazy and because like me many Peruvians also know that the intention of the Ministry of Education is not to “homosexualize” the children of Peru, but rather to create a climate of respect and equality between future generations.

We can see that there are many problems in the educational field and it is a fact that many children are victims of bullying due to their gender identity. These children cannot be excluded by closed minds that refuse to see the reality of the world in which we live. The population should be better able to seek equality for all, for children with disabilities, for example, who are often not taken into account in public schools, children with different abilities who in many cases are not welcomed in public education.

These should be real causes of struggle: that children should not be segregated and thus we can create a better country that does not exclude or discriminate.

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