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ARGENTINA | 27-02-2024 16:22

Argentina's government broadens ban on gender-inclusive language

President Javier Milei's Government “will commence proceedings to ban inclusive language and gender perspective from the entire public administration,” declares presidential spokesperson.

After banning the use of gender-inclusive language in the military, representatives from President Javier Milei’s government said Tuesday they would extend the measure to Argentina's public sector as a whole.

The government "will initiate actions to ban inclusive language... throughout the national public administration," Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni told reporters in Buenos Aires.

There has been a recent trend towards using more gender inclusive language in Spanish, which denotes a gender to every noun. 

Words ending in "o" are generally masculine and in "a" feminine, but plural nouns are masculine – even if, for example, a group of friends (amigos) is composed of men and women.

Some people have taken to using an "@," "e" or "x" to make words gender neutral, such as in "amig@s," but the trend is rejected by traditionalists.

In Argentina, the use of gender-inclusive language was optional, but taken up by many state agencies.

Adorni insisted Tuesday that in the future "it will not be possible to use the letter 'e,' the 'at symbol' or the 'x'" to denote gender in the public service, and officials must "avoid unnecessary inclusion of the female form in all documents." 

Asked why, the spokesman said: "It is a debate in which we will not participate" as so-called "gender perspectives" – a way of analysing gender's impact on a person's opportunities – "have been used as political currency."

On Monday, Milei's government said it was banning gender-inclusive language in the Armed Forces in order to "eliminate incorrect language use which can lead to misinterpretation... affecting the execution of orders and the conduct of military operations."

The shift comes after new words such as "soldadas" for female troops or "soldadxs" for binary ones started being more widely used, with the traditional male form "soldado" increasingly perceived as exclusionary.

Milei, who has described himself as an ultra-libertarian "anarcho-capitalist," holds conservative stances on issues such as abortion and climate change. 

He has railed against so-called "gender ideology," a term loosely used by conservatives worldwide to oppose same-sex social rights, abortion and transgender rights, calling it a form of "indoctrination" and "cultural Marxism."

His government has since downgraded Argentina's national anti-discrimination agency, INADI, as part of Milei's drive to slim down the state. The administration initially claimed it would shutter the body, but its work will be assumed into the Justice Ministry instead.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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