Argentina’s Milei bans gender-inclusive language in official documents

CNNArgentina’s President Javier Milei has banned gender-inclusive language in all official documents and public administration, the presidential spokesperson said Tuesday, as the far-right libertarian continues to implement his socially conservative agenda.

The ban, effective immediately, will prohibit “inclusive language and everything related to the gender perspective throughout the national public administration,” Manuel Adornis, spokesperson for the Casa Rosada, said in his daily press conference.

Spanish is a gender-defined language where most nouns are given a masculine “o” ending or a feminine “a” ending. In an effort to create gender-inclusive language in Spanish-speaking countries, there has been a push to use “x,” “e,” or “@” to create general-neutral nouns instead of using “o” or “a.” For example, the gender-neutral term “Latinx” as opposed to the masculine “Latino” or feminine “Latina.”

Going forward, “it will not be possible to use the letter ‘e,’ ​​the ‘@’ sign, the ‘x’,” Adornis said, adding that people should also “avoid the unnecessary use of the feminine in all public administration documents.”

Adornis rejected the argument that gender-inclusive language covers all demographics of society, saying, “the language that covers all sectors is the one we use; it is the Castilian language, it is Spanish,” he said.

“Gender perspectives” have been used as a political tool, the spokesperson said.

This announcement comes after gender-inclusive language was banned in the military following a resolution by the country’s defense ministry.

The debate around gender-neutral language has become a lightning rod in the culture wars in the Americas, with Milei previously railing against “gender ideology” – a term that has gained prominence in recent years among social conservatives who oppose LGBTQ rights.

The change comes after Argentina became the first country in Latin America to allow a different option in the “gender” field of identity documents. In 2021, the government of former President Alberto Fernández announced a new National Identity Document (DNI) for nonbinary people that establishes the terminology “x” in the field of gender for amended DNI and passports.

Fernández also used inclusive language during his speeches, in stark contrast to Milei, a social conservative with ties to the American right, who opposes abortion rights and has called climate change a “lie of socialism.”

Since coming to power last year, Milei has pursued conservative culture war issues. Last week, his government announced the closure of its anti-discrimination agency, saying the Ministry of Justice would absorb its functions.