On April 11th and 12th, the seminar “Mapping and resisting the gender phantasm in Latin America: geographies of ‘anti-gender’ movements” took place in Rio de Janeiro, organised by the Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW), in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and supported by the BRICS Policy Center (PUC-Rio). The event was the second in a series of four workshops of the project “Transnational Movements and ‘Antigender’ Resistance: Narratives and Interventions“, led by LSE professors Clare Hemmings and Sumi Madhok. National and international activists and researchers were present, such as Alyosxa Tudor (SOAS), Andrea Dip (Free University of Berlin), Mauro Cabral (Global Philanthropy Project), Sayak Valencia (Colégio de Frontera Norte, México), Flavia Rios (UFF, Cebrap), Bruna Benevides (ANTRA), besides feminist parliamentarians from Rio De Janeiro: Luciana Boiteux, Dani Balbi and former state representative Monica Francisco. The seminar also launched REVISTA SUR Number 32, which was presented by Mary Grisales (Conectas).
“It was an ideal opportunity to share strategies for resistance and community-building, both of which have been and remain so key to providing alternatives to right- and left-wing anti-feminisms”, stressed Clare Hemmings, from LSE. “As one of the global north academics whose privilege it was to be able to attend, I came away from the 2-day event full of hope: not that anti-gender activism is going anywhere soon, but that we are part of a transnational coalition committed to resisting, to developing alternative ways of thinking and living”, she reinforced.
For Flávia Rios, sociologist and Director of the Institute of Human Sciences and Philosophy at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), and one of the panelists of the Trialogue that wrapped up the first day of the seminar: “The value of the event was to concentrate academic and activists’ efforts in the attempt to understand, from different angles, the nature of anti-gender policies and discourses in Latin America. My panel, in particular, placed in dialogue different visions and realities to talk about gender. These were two distinct corners of the Americas, in this case, Brazil and Mexico. Knowing that, despite the particularities of these countries, we are all living under the threat of a conservative and extremist wave that seeks to silence us is something that deserves our attention and careful monitoring!”.
Ana Paula Sciammarella, UNIRIO professor and mediator of one of the panels, also underlined the relevance of “a space for connections between different actors, which had not been possible for a long time. The possibility of holding a hybrid meeting broadened the participation while strengthening links and connections of those who attended in person.”
Over the two days of debate, the region’s anti-gender politics were explored, as well as transnational connections, global politics, and convergences with other social issues, such as racism and coloniality. Regional and legislative resistances were highlighted, in order to draw a complete picture of the complex reality of the transnational anti-gender attacks, but also to draw positive and safe future perspectives for all.
It was very important that we were able to meet because it allowed people with related work to come together and have a joint conversation. It brought together different areas of work within a great framework of concern about the advance of anti-gender actors. All this multiplicity of views from different backgrounds with a common interest allowed us to have a more comprehensive and nuanced view. It was also important to be able to meet each other, to get to know each other better, to chat. This strengthens us in addition to the theoretical and political perspectives that we can share because I believe that there is also something in the right-wing’s work that aims to create an apocalyptic atmosphere of impotence, meanness, discouragement, and despair. What became evident in those days was that in the face of all that, we still have the joy of fighting, of building different alternatives, the hope that we can do something. – Maria Luisa Peralta (Argentina)
According to Marco Aurélio Máximo Prado, coordinator of the Nucleus of Human Rights and Citizenship LGBT+ (NUH/UFMG), “the outcome, besides consolidating action and a transnational network of support and confrontation to the attacks, was also meaningful for revealing both the advancement of studies in this field and the need to deepen the themes that, in a heterogeneous way, are aggregated in the actions against gender. It was truly a fundamental immersion for us to move forward with more articulated and more refined positions of understanding of this very distressing historical moment”.
“The seminar allowed me to have a panoramic view of the genealogy of anti-gender movements and the specific role that these movements are playing in Latin America and the Caribbean. To understand that, even if they emerged simultaneously in Europe and Latin America, in Latin America they have a specificity. [The event] also allowed us to perceive the links of these movements with other types of problems and realities, such as de-democratization, the loss of democracy and democratic values, the links with the deepening of inequalities, and how they are also influencing societies’ thinking. In this sense, it was a very enriching space for understanding the geopolitics of anti-gender politics. I left convicted of the urge to take a more critical look within the feminist movement itself, recognizing the fractures that exist in the way of approaching reality, problems, and categories of analysis. In this sense, I think it is important to recognize that we are facing very hard and terrible realities, but also processes of hope. Processes that bring us closer to a future of hope, because, as Monica Roa said, we are making this change and we are managing to complexify the narratives with different visions, recognizing the multi-causality of the processes and making changes possible, not through naivety, but through a more critical and complex analysis”, said Morena Herrera, founder, and president of the Citizen Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador. Morena was part of the panel on Resistance on the second day of the event.
The highlights of all the panels will be posted on SPW’s Youtube channel soon. To learn more about the project, we recommend the article by researcher Clare Hemmings, from LSE, available here. Check out some photos below: