We explain what is meant by “gender ideology” and in what context the term is used. Also, what is gender identity.
“Gender ideology” is a pejorative name for feminism and other movements.
What is gender ideology?
“Gender ideology” or “gender theory” are terms with negative and pejorative connotations used by sectors of society that, to a greater or lesser extent, oppose the idea that the human race is an entirely social and cultural construction, alleging more well that the distinction between men and women has irremediably natural bases. Both positions are inserted in a complex contemporary debate on gender, in which social networks play a leading role.
In other words, the meaning attributed to “gender ideology” is that of suppressing the differences between men and women, ignoring even the fundamental biological differences, to establish that in reality gender is optional and depends on the self-identification of people, that is, how they perceive themselves.
The concept of “gender ideology”, thus, is contrary to that of “gender perspective”. The latter is supported by the mostly progressive sectors that defend the need to review the way in which the distinction between men and women has been understood up to now in the West, the gender roles associated with each one, and the possibility that there are genders that are not binaries that break with this traditional conception of human sexuality. For the most progressive sectors, “gender ideology” simply does not exist.
Those who affirm that there is a “gender ideology” accuse it of attacking human nature, against traditional family values and even against culture itself. There are even those who affirm that it is a cultural outpost of certain political sectors to destroy the Christian religion or to impose a global tyranny.
The vast majority of these arguments are, however, considered conspiracy theories, as they lack hard evidence and are taken seriously only in social media and religious discourse.
Finally, there is no formal, scientific consensus regarding the existence or nature of a “gender ideology”, but there is a well-known international militancy in matters of the “gender perspective”, that is, in the desire to build a more egalitarian society in matters of sex and gender.
See also: Gender equity
Origin of the term “gender ideology”
Contrary to what is stated in some articles and social networks, the term “gender ideology” does not come from the progressive sectors of the academy, nor was it coined by feminist or Marxist militants during the 20th century. It is actually a term used for the first time in 1995, during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, by Catholic authorities who frowned upon the liberalization of certain issues regarding human sexuality, such as gender equality, homosexuality and the right to abortion.
In fact, in the Doctrinal Dictionary published in 2003 by the Pontifical Council for the Family at that time, it was announced that “gender ideology” is “a feminist idea” through which “women try to free themselves” and it is proposed that “the heterosexuality, far from being obligatory, would not mean more than one of the cases of sexual practice.
However, the term reached its current popularity thanks to social networks and statements such as those made by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, who affirmed in 2016 the contemporary existence of “two diabolical forces: ISIS or Islamic State, and gender theory. In recent times, however, this concept has been used and disseminated by neoconservative thinkers and activists, especially in the United States and Latin America.
What is gender identity?
Gender identity is defined as the way in which an individual perceives himself on a sexual and gender level, that is, the place that he assigns to himself within (or outside) the traditional distinction between men and women in society. society. This self-perception can coincide with the biological sex (and in this case we are talking about a cis person) or it can not coincide with the biological sex (and in that case we are talking about a trans person).
For example, a person born male may identify as a female individual and perceive themselves as a trans woman. Or a person born female may self-perceive as a masculine individual and identify as a trans man. In all these cases, the relationship that the person establishes psychologically and affectively with her own gender constitutes her gender identity.
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Differences between gender identity and sexual orientation
If gender identity is the psychological and emotional identification of individuals with respect to themselves, sexual orientation, on the other hand, is the general tendency of the individual regarding their erotic and romantic attraction.
That is, sexual orientation describes what kind of people someone is attracted to: heterosexuals are attracted to people of the opposite sex, while homosexuals are attracted to people of the same sex and bisexuals to people of both sexes.
Sexual orientation has nothing to do, in principle, with gender identity. A person can self-identify as male or female, and have a sexual orientation of one kind or another: a cis man can be straight, gay, or bisexual, for example, just as a trans man can be.
Gender equality is the goal to which gender perspective movements aspire, and consists of parity of conditions between human genders, sexes and sexual orientations, in such a way that these do not influence the role that individuals fulfill in society, in their chances of success or in the way they are treated by the rest. This gender equality is radically opposed to discrimination based on sex, gender or sexual orientation in the labor, civic, legal and medical fields, among others.
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Gender ideology in Latin America
The accusations of “gender ideology” in Latin America have grown hand in hand with the influence of social networks, just as in the rest of the West, and especially in those countries where the Church and religion still have great importance in the formation of public discourse and state decision-making. In fact, in those regional governments with a conservative tendency, the term can be found in the description of state policies and in presidential addresses.
- Gender ideology in Argentina. Argentina is one of the countries with the most advanced legislation on gender issues in Latin America, with inclusion laws for trans people and the possibility of personal documentation for sexually diverse people. This does not mean that there are no opposing voices or that the term “gender ideology” is not used by groups against the right to abortion, trans legislation and the Argentine feminist movement, one of the largest on the continent.
- Gender ideology in Mexico. Mexico is a country with high rates of femicides and sexual crimes against women and especially trans women, where the transsexual population did not have specific legislation until 2021, when the first laws that allow the change were enacted. legal gender from the age of 12, provided they have the authorization of their parents. Many local LGBTI+ social movements, however, consider this just the first step towards a Mexico that is more inclusive of gender-diverse people.
- Gender ideology in Brazil. The debate around the gender perspective in Brazil had an important highlight in 2014, when the debate began regarding education with a gender perspective in schools, something that critics of “gender ideology” denounced as “indoctrination ”. With the rise of the conservative president Jair Bolsonaro in 2019, the evangelical and conservative religious sectors gained an important ally in their fight against what they consider an attack on the family and traditional values.
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