Trans rights are increasingly used as a wedge issue by conservatives, and it often involves moral panics around "protecting children" from LGBT people in general and transgender people in particular.
The controversy began earlier this year when an unfinished draft of a teaching handbook, produced by the education ministry in tandem with international agencies including UNICEF, was published online. One sentence sparked particular fury: "One isn't born a man or a woman, but rather learns to be one, according to the society and age in which they grow up," it read. That passage, along with false versions of the handbook and other misinformation, circulated widely on social media. Critics accused then-Education Minister Gina Parody, a lesbian, of trying to indoctrinate students with "gender ideology," a term used by many conservative groups and leaders throughout Latin America. Parody quickly became the center of a smear campaign, while others argued children needed to be protected from same-sex marriage. That was when the lines between the handbook controversy and the peace deal vote started to blur.
• Did an Anti-LGBT Panic Help Defeat Colombia's Peace Deal? (Americas Quarterly)
Image: Iván Erre Jota