Buenos Aires Chief of Government Horacio Rodriguez Larreta announced Friday that he would be banning the use of inclusive Spanish language in the schools of Argentina's capital city, the Buenos Aires Times reports.
The move drew immediate backlash from proponents of inclusive language, which is currently in wide use by the city's schools and young people. Among the critics of Larreta's decision is the nonbinary actor and star of the HBO series Our Flag Means Death, Vico Ortiz.
"Argentina's government has made it [illegal] to use or educate about inclusive language in schools. I feel disappointed. By making inclusive language in Spanish [illegal] they are repeating the same vicious violent cycle of silencing our existence, my existence. By making this [illegal], they are leaving a door open for anyone to feel they can 'lawfully' ignore who I am. I breathe. My heart beats. I think. I feel. I EXIST. With this 'law' you have chosen it's easier to not recognize my humanity," they wrote. "Fasten your seatbelts. Because my community and I... Will never be forgotten."
\u201cThe Argentinian government has chosen to prohibit the growth and expansion of the Spanish language rather than challenging its stagnant structure. Time to make some noise, shall we? @glaad @Into_tweets @PinkNews @outmagazine @TheAdvocateMag @lgbtqnation\u201d
In a press conference on Friday, Larreta -- who is a likely presidential hopeful in the 2023 election for the center-right opposition party Juntos por el Cambio coalition -- justified his decision to "simplify the way that children learn," because of poor results in recent testing in the areas of Spanish literature and language.
"Teachers have to respect the rules of the Spanish language because children have to master the language as it is," said Larreta.
What this means is that the use of gender-inclusive language like "e" to signify the use of nonbinary gender is no longer accepted, nor is "x" or "@" in writing, according to City Education Minister Soledad Acuna.
National Education Minister Jaime Perczyk has pushed back on this decision, saying, "It is necessary to improve [levels] but [the way] is not to ban it." Instead, he called for a "redoubling of our efforts so that children can learn in better conditions," according to the Times.
This surely isn't the last we've heard of this story, as inclusive language supporters will continue their drive for more inclusive language in the country -- as will Ortiz, who tweeted a call to action.
"The Argentinian government has chosen to prohibit the growth and expansion of the Spanish language rather than challenging its stagnant structure," they wrote, adding, "Time to make some noise, shall we?"