Taking a cue from President Trump, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is attempting to undermine the World Health Organization with bigotry and misinformation.
Bolsonaro, who is notoriously ant-LGBTQ, said the international public health agency urges children to masturbate and pursue same-sex relationships, among other specious claims.
"This is the World Health Organization whose advice on coronavirus some people want me to follow," he wrote in a Wednesday Facebook post that was later deleted, reports Agence France-Presse.
"Should we follow their education policy guidelines, too? For children zero to four years old: satisfaction and pleasure when touching their bodies, masturbation.... For children four to six years old: a positive gender identity... masturbation in early childhood, same-sex relations.... Nine to 12 years old: first sexual experience."
The post followed a tweet from an adviser, Arthur Weintraub, who claimed, "The WHO has guidelines recommending children zero to four years old be taught about 'masturbation,' 'pleasure and enjoyment,' 'touching one's body' and 'gender ideology.' Is that right?"
No, that is not right. The claims stem from a 2010 document jointly published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and Germany's Federal Centre for Health Education, "Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe." This guide does not encourage said behaviors in children; it merely informs adults that it is natural for children to be curious about their bodies and sexuality as they grow.
As of Friday, Brazil has reported 87,364 COVID-19 infections and 6,017 deaths, making it a hot spot in Latin America. Regardless, Bolsonaro has been dismissive of the virus as a "little flu." He has called alarm at the crisis "hysteria" and even fired his health minister, who had approached Latin America's largest outbreak with far more caution.
In 2011, Bolsonaro infamously said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one. "I would be incapable of loving a gay son. I prefer that he die in an accident," he told Playboy.