Latam Review

The Positions in the sexual education of children. The debate in Uruguay and Latin America

Agustina Craviotto Corbellini[1]

The Sexuality education has emerged as a growing issue in the Latin American educational debate, but it has also been problematic for the West ever since. From this evident realization, it is important to reflect on the senses disseminated around the sexual body and the possibilities of its education.

For the case of Uruguay, on July 23, 2017, the Consejo de Educación Inicial y Primaria (CEIP) presented an updated guide to treat sex education in schools, called “Propuesta didáctica para el abordaje de la educación sexual en Educación Inicial y Primaria” (ProDAEX) (ANEP, 2017). It is proposed as a tool to teach theoretically and practically subjects related to sexual education, intended for primary school teachers within the Sexual Education program of the Administración Nacional de Educación Pública. The program that has been in force since 2006, has been incorporated in 2008 as a transversal axis from initial education to the sixth year inclusive. It is justified from the administration as a response to the established in the General Law of Education, or Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia y la Ley de Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (Code of Childhood and Adolescence and Law of Sexual and Reproductive Rights), of the official government. Once the proposal for its elaboration in 2013, but mainly since 2016, the national press and the social networks have shown some voices of resistance from the right-wing political positions and representatives of the Catholic Church. The archbishop of Montevideo and members of the “Partido Nacional” (Political Party) called the proposal “an error” and said they did not respect the freedom of parents as responsible for the education of their children, as well as the presence of a clear gender ideology.

In this context, the social movement called “A mis hijos no los tocan” (My children are not touched), identified as “parents and grandparents, families and young people united without political or religious flags, opens the opportunity for all to participate and to be heard” (page Official website). They claim that the sexual education of the children is the land of the families and they demand the elimination of the ProDAEX of the schools. Complaints are made through social networks, on their official website and through demonstrations on the streets. Most of these manifestations are reactionary to others organized and convened by various feminist collectives.

The movement is part of a broader movement; it has a presence in several Latin American countries. They have different slogans, for example Argentina, Chile and Peru shared “Con mis hijos no te metas” (Don’t mess with my kids). In Colombia, Bolivia and Mexico the resistance is through public and virtual demonstrations, with no other defined organization. The transnational character is evident with the Mexican proposal of building a “front Latin-American” opposite to the gender ideology (Diario Semana, 2016). Something similar it happens also in Brazil from the law project 193/2016, that includes in the Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação the Program “Escola Sem Partido” (School without political parties).

Critical to the effects of patriarchy and capitalism, feminist collectives claim the state for an education based on equality, on the recognition of women and sexual minorities, strongly reflected on the place of man in capitalist society. The reference to “My body” appears as the center of the disputes and gives account of the property, the foundation of liberalism (and even neoliberalism). It is because the body is property that the right to exercise individual freedoms over it, that is, the possibility of deciding on its own destiny, understood in the mere meaning of the future planned from “rational deliberations”, is deduced as right.

In this sense, the minimum conceptual framework on which the discussion is based is what is meant by politics, body and education in a Western capitalist society, in a fundamental aspect: in liberal democracies the body is something that has individual property. But who has it? Who owns it? And, owner of what body? What is the nature of this body?

We can say that there is no politics without body and this is due to that it is not possible to become political effects without affections of the bodies. And also, according to Freud and Lacan, the life of the subject is always a matter of language and therefore submerged in a relationship of inadequacy: language and sexuality come to signal the problem of meaning, as division and as conflict (Leite; De Souza Jr, 2014). If politics is always within and in a body, and with it all educational policy, which must necessarily be affected for its functioning, and if the function of the school is to be the instrument of directing bodies, sexuality is inscribed as the dimension of a sense that always fails, and therefore speaks of the impossibility of total capture of the body.

If it is important to review these interventions, it is to reflect on the central place of the body, where on one side and the other the discourses seem to demand the very direction of life, as that which belongs to it, its destiny is determined by the possibilities of its freedom. Not being able to escape from their time, individuals (inequalities) seek to resist what acts in spite of their will.

[1] Docente de la Universidad de la República, en Uruguay. Doctoranda en la Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brasil. Becaria en el Programa Estudante-Convênio De Pós-Graduação (Pec-Pg). Coordenação De Aperfeiçoamento De Pessoal De Nível Superior, Brasil. E- mail:

ANEP. Propuesta didáctica para el abordaje de la educación sexual en Educación Inicial y Primaria. En:

SEMANA (2016). Proponen “frente latinoamericano” contra la ideología de género. En:

LEITE, N; DE SOUZA, PS. “Sexual: o contemporâneo da psicanálise”, ALEA, Rio de Janeiro, vol. 16/2, p. 338-345,| jul-dez 2014


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *