In a swift move, Argentina’s newly inaugurated president, Javier Milei, has abolished the country’s Diversity Ministry, leaving the LGBTQ+ community and advocates deeply concerned. Milei, a self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist,” assumed office after a victorious campaign marked by conservative stances, including the abolition of abortion rights and a commitment to “Make Argentina Great Again.” His radical approach to governance is drawing comparisons to former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Austerity Measures in Action
Milei’s presidency is characterized by a firm commitment to reducing state expenditure, leading him to dismantle various government ministries he deems non-essential. Among those abolished are the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education (referred to by Milei as the “Ministry of Indoctrination”), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry for Women, Gender, and Diversity.
Impact on LGBTQ+ Rights
The Ministry for Women, Gender, and Diversity, established by former President Alberto Fernández in 2019, played a crucial role in addressing LGBTQ+ abuse, gender-based violence, social exclusion of the transgender community, and other inequalities affecting women and LGBTQ+ individuals. Milei’s decision to dissolve this ministry and transfer its responsibilities to the Ministry of Human Capital has sparked apprehension among LGBTQ+ activists and politicians in Argentina.
Esteban Paulón, a Congressman and LGBTQ+ activist, expressed his concerns, stating, “This is a huge shame because these policies are very necessary, addressing issues linked to gender inequalities and the perspective of dissidence, with a concrete impact on people’s daily lives. The state must allocate resources and send a clear message to society that these issues matter.”
Milei’s controversial proposals, including a potential referendum on abortion legality, the abolition of public health and education, and cuts to social welfare, have fueled anxieties about the direction of Argentina under his leadership. While not explicitly targeting same-sex marriage, Milei has called for the removal of sex education from schools and garnered support from anti-LGBTQ+ figures and organizations. As Argentina navigates these shifts, the future of LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy remains uncertain.
In a nation known for its progressive strides in LGBTQ+ rights, Argentina now grapples with the implications of a far-right leader’s actions on its diverse and vibrant community.