World Report 2019: Breaking the Buzzword Fighting the “Gender Ideology” Myth
Love it or hate it, ‘gender identity’ is now at the front line of Class War, along with prisons, homelessness and mental health. In former times it was antisemitism, witch-hunting, slavery or land enclosure. We don’t always choose where we fight, only how hard.
This month we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark the occasion, we have asked Human Rights Watch experts to reflect on some of the key human rights challenges in their area of specialty.
Like its buzzword brother “fake news,” “gender ideology” hasn’t taken long crossing borders into nationalist lexicons. The vacuous but dangerous term was adopted by the Holy See decades ago to refer to a supposed gay and feminist-led movement to subvert traditional families and social values, a reaction against the rights of women and expanding protections for sexual and gender minorities.
Since then, it has developed into a catch-all phrase and short-hand for various anxieties about social change—a Hydra-like global conspiracy myth that, despite being mildly ridiculous and readily exposed, has significant traction.
In recent years, “gender ideology” has been used as a secular rallying cry against same-sex marriage in France, an alliance-building initiative between nationalists and religious conservatives in Poland, a boost to anti-Muslim groups in Austria, a popularity enhancer for Costa Rican presidential hopeful Fabricio Alvarado, and a mobilizing tool against the recent peace accord in Colombia.
Which is a lot. How can one concept have so many purposes?
In France, anti-gender activists tried
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