With Integral Sex Education you don’t get involved

Last Thursday, Córdoba awoke with posters of the campaign #ConMisHijosNoTeMetas on public roads and urban collectives. The slogan was born a few weeks ago, when the reform of the Law of Comprehensive Sexual Education was discussed in the plenary session of the National Congress commissions. On that occasion, an opposition group demonstrated to prevent progress with this legislation, arguing that Comprehensive Sexual Education could not become “indoctrination” by ideology, giving rise to the slogan of this campaign.

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A necessary reform

The Law of Integral Sexual Education (ISE) N ° 26,150, in force since 2006, never had an effective national compliance. During the months in which the legalization of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy was debated, Integral Sexual Education was mentioned as an urgent policy both by those who promoted the legalization of abortion and by those who opposed it. In the 2017 Learning tests, 8 out of 10 high school seniors said that sex education and gender violence are issues that the school should address and it does not.

On September 4 (World Sexual Health Day), a majority opinion was reached in the plenary of commissions that dealt with a project to reform the law of ESI. It seeks to strengthen the law to make it clear that it is mandatory in the entire national territory, in institutions of state or private management, beyond the “institutional ideology and the convictions of its members.” In this way, access to a fundamental human right that has been legally recognized for 12 years will be deepened.

That confabulation can be seen

However, the opposition sectors did not take long to be heard and began with a campaign on social networks with statements such as “with the children,” “the children are the parents, not the State” and “not the gender ideology in the school”. They define “gender ideology” as that “set of anti-scientific ideas that, for authoritarian political purposes, uproot human sexuality from its nature and monopolize it through culture.” They affirm that “the deconstruction of the human being will lead to chaos and extinction, as we have already done with nature and other species.” And in their documents they present false concepts about what is sex, gender, sexual orientation and identity. gender, with statements such as “there are only two genders”, “no one is born in the wrong body” and that trans people “suffer from gender dysphoria”.

The role of the Municipality in matters of public space advertising

This misleading and malicious campaign not only circulated through social networks. Hundreds of posters with the slogan “#ConMisHijosNoTeMetas – Yes to sex education, not gender ideology” appeared in spaces of municipal public domain in the city of Córdoba, in flagrant violation of articles 1, 15 ° clause a) and 40th paragraph e). of the Ordinance N ° 10378 of “Regulation of advertising carried out through advertising in the City of Córdoba”.

That is why, together with the Córdoba de Todos Foundation, and with the support of more than 50 social organizations, we made a presentation requiring the Municipality to immediately withdraw the advertisements. We argue, on the one hand, that the campaign violates the spirit of the ordinance, which aims to “regulate the advertising carried out by advertising in spaces or places of the Municipal Public Domain or susceptible to be perceived directly from them, with the purpose to safeguard public safety and morality, as well as to preserve and promote the cultural, aesthetic, landscape, urban and historical values ​​within the municipal ejido. ” On the other hand, the ordinance establishes in article 15 that the announcements can not be contrary to the law, affect morality or good customs, or be discriminatory. This applies to public road signs as well as to mobile advertisements, that is, those that were mounted on vehicles of the Public Transport Service (article 40).

Numerous media echoed our claim. Just a day later, we learned that the Coniferal company, concessionaire of the transport service, decided to remove the advertising of the lunette of their cars.

A fundamental human right

Integral Sexual Education is a human right of which the girls, boys and adolescents of our city are inalienable holders. This has been recognized by the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Education, who in his report to the United Nations General Assembly stated “The right to education includes the right to sexual education, which is a human right in itself, which in turn is an indispensable condition to ensure that people enjoy other human rights, such as the right to health, the right to information and sexual and reproductive rights. ”

This is consistent with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1999 and approved by National Law 23,849 in our country a year later, which obliges the States Parties to respect the stated rights and to ensure their application “to every child subject to their jurisdiction, without distinction whatsoever, regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social status, economic position, physical impediments, the birth or any other condition of the child, his parents or his legal representatives “(article 2). It also orders them to adopt “all administrative, legislative and other measures to give effect to the rights recognized in this Convention, and with respect to economic, social and cultural rights” to the maximum extent possible. dispose … “(article 3).

It is a non-delegable obligation of the State to build the conditions for the fulfillment and active exercise of all rights, and this can not be an exception. The exercise of this right of children and adolescents can not be hampered by a campaign that misinterprets and confuses what should be understood by Comprehensive Sexual Education, except in areas of Municipal Public Domain.

Saying “ConMisHijosNoTeMetas” means reducing the exercise of this right exclusively to the family. It puts children and adolescents in a passive place, contrary to the current paradigm that must respect them as subjects of law. We understand that families are key in the path of education, and their role is unavoidable, but it is also absolutely necessary that there are public policies to guarantee this human right.

And now?

We still await a favorable response from the Municipality of Córdoba, which stated in the media that the issue is under study and will be analyzed in the coming days.

With our claim we do not seek to limit freedom of expression, although we do not share the ideology of those who promote the campaign. We understand that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, but can we say anything by protecting ourselves in this right? Or is there a limit when words violate other human rights? Advertising, as well as the media, is one of the determining agents in the transmission of cultural patterns, and can collaborate both in the promotion of values ​​respectful of human rights and in the perpetuation of inequalities. The regulation of the content that is promoted in the public space, such as the municipal ordinance on which we base our claim, marks that limit. In addition, as we explained in our presentation to the Municipality, it is not appropriate to use municipal public domain spaces to disseminate messages that “weaken channels of dialogue, describe in a pejorative manner positions endorsed even by official bodies for the protection of human rights, and incite violence and democratic intolerance. ”

We also believe that it is essential that the government promote a campaign strengthening its commitment to the full implementation of the Law of Comprehensive Sexual Education, taking into account that in our city we have municipal public schools where the expressions of the advertising campaign in question can have generated confusion and conflict.

It is important to understand that what is in conflict is the Comprehensive Sexual Education, understood from a human rights approach and respect for sexual and gender diversity, consistent with our current legal framework and international standards that regulate the subject. It is this sexual education, as the fundamental right of our children and adolescents, that we must defend.


Mayca Balaguer, maycabalaguer@fundeps.org