Debate since 2015, Pressure made politicians pull the plug in 2022
2019 Protest : PEOPLE CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE
Puerto Rico Erupts in a Day of Protests “Tens of thousands of protestors are out in Puerto Rico, calling for Governor Richardo Rossello’s resignation.”
“Newspaper said 500,000 people attended Mondays protest”
A Failed commitment to promote inclusive education
May 11, 2022 – Alberto J. Valentin
Gender identity, gender expression, identity, biological identity, transgender women, trans masculinity and machismo, among other things, cannot be mentioned within Puerto Rico’s public system right now. Is this another version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill? No, but it’s not too far from it. The above is happening in Puerto Rico, the territory with the highest rates of gender-based violence in the entire country.
Puerto Rico Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos on March 10 signed a circular letter (Number 032-2021-2022): Equity and respect among all human beings that create a curriculum of gender equity within the public instruction system. The approval of this circular letter happened after a written commitment adopted in the Executive Order 2021-013 from 2021, where Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declared a state of emergency on the island because of gender-based violence. Puerto Rico has the highest rate of crimes against women, trans people and the LGBT+ community in the U.S. After the alarming rates on the island and years of continuous claims from human rights organizations, the government of Puerto Rico decided to declare an emergency in the territory.
The executive order from 2021 created the Committee for the Prevention, Support, Rescue and Education (PARE) to draft a curriculum to address gender-based violence. The purpose of the curriculum was to influence Puerto Rico’s public education system regarding inequity among genders and create a new interdisciplinary concept of a gender perspective for future generations. Unfortunately, Ramos didn’t sign a gender perspective education circular letter as required by Executive Order 2021-013, but issued a letter that does not meet the department’s current needs and our Puerto Rican society related to the gender-based violence that our island has been suffering for decades. It is just another useless public policy.
The recent approval of the circular letter is a mockery of a decade of effort and hard work from feminist organizations against gender-based violence and an apparent contradiction to the commitment made by Pierluisi to develop a curriculum with a gender perspective in the Jan. 25 executive order. When we speak of a gender perspective, we refer to a conceptual tool that seeks to show that the differences between women and men occur not only because of their biological determination but also because of cultural differences. The purpose of education with a gender perspective is to question the stereotypes with which we are educated and open the possibility of developing new concepts and solving the social imbalances between the genders. In short, the gender perspective seeks to modify the social structures that reproduce inequality, inequity, discrimination, prejudice, and violence; and achieve true gender equality. But to achieve this, it needs to be done in a transversal, intersectional, holistic and multidisciplinary way within the Department of Education. Not through another nice “statement.”
The circular letter approved on March 10 went from a curriculum that sought to address inequalities based on biological and cultural differences and gender identities to becoming one more public policy of values and principles. Everything changed when Ramos decided to negotiate with the senator of the Dignity Project (Religious Party), Joanne Rodríguez Veve, and the New Progressive Party (NPP). Among the changes achieved by the faith-based sector were ignoring and removing the existence of the concepts of gender expression and identities. According to the faith-based sector, concepts that promote homosexuality and distance us from the traditional (“normal”) family. The gender perspective, if approved, sought that our students could begin to educate themselves on the importance of understanding that there is nothing wrong with having gender identities that are not consistent with cultural concepts and stereotypes imposed on them by our society. An education that teaches us that colors, clothes, toys, jobs, sports, professional aspirations, behaviors, ways of speaking, expressing ourselves, walking, interacting, thinking, accessing services, strengths, access, learning, values, quality of a person, intelligence, thoughts and limitations should never be defined by your gender or your biology.
When we compare Republican states in the U.S., such as Florida, which recently passed legislation (“Don’t Say Gay”) that prohibits the use of the word “gay” in public institutions, you realize that Puerto Rico is not far from it. Why did Ramos agree to this negotiation? Why did he walk away from his true calling to do justice to our students? Was it a quid pro quo to be confirmed by Puerto Rico’s Senate? We don’t know. Unfortunately, today we go back again after so many years of effort and work. It is unfortunate that instead of choosing to change generations and create a better society, the secretary of education decided to continue perpetuating the ignorance of our culture. It is unfortunate that the secretary of education, instead of putting himself on the right side of history and with his actions helping to eradicate future gender-based violence based on a macho concept and patriarchy attached to our society, decided to look to the side. He chose to ignore the deaths of hundreds of women whose memories cry out for justice, natural justice, not fictitious, not another worthless piece of paper that will be useless like the thousands of circular letters approved by the department throughout the decades.
Feb 27, 2015 : “For the last few weeks, Puerto Rico’s streets have seen protesters for and against the incorporation of ‘perspectivas de género’ or gender perspectives in the public schools’ curriculum.” source