Brazilian Education Minister Milton Ribeiro is expected to respond to a police interrogation on suspicion of homophobia, due to his controversial views on the homosexual community.
Judge Dias Toffoli, of the Supreme Court, asked the Federal Police to set a date to question the minister, a Presbyterian pastor and the government’s fourth minister of education chaired by Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January 2019.
At issue is a controversial interview given by the minister at the end of September to the newspaper Estadão, where, among other topics, he discussed sex education classes in the country and expressed his opinion on homosexuality.
Milton Ribeiro referred to homosexuality as “homosexuality”, a term considered prejudiced in the country because it indicates disease.
“I think that the teenager who often chooses to walk in the path of ‘homosexuality’ has a very close family context, just do a research. They are maladjusted families, some. There is a lack of attention from the father, the mother. I see boys aged 12, 13 to choose to be ‘gay’. They have never been with a woman in fact, with a man in fact and walk around. These are issues of values and principles “, said the minister at the time.
“Homosexuality” is a term considered prejudiced, as it refers to a disease, due to the suffix “ism”. The correct term for sexual orientation is homosexuality. 30 years ago, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
The statements by Milton Ribeiro, who took over Education in July this year, generated controversy and led parliamentarians to ask that the government be investigated for homophobia.
After the wave of criticism, mainly from human rights organizations, Milton Ribeiro said that he “never” wanted “to discriminate or encourage any form of discrimination” and apologized in an official statement.
However, the Attorney General’s Office consulted the Supreme Federal Court on the possibility of initiating an investigation into alleged homophobia, which will be decided by Judge Dias Toffoli, instructor of the case in court, based on the explanation that the minister provides to the Federal police.
Ribeiro was appointed Minister of Education last July, a post that has been subject to considerable instability in Bolsonaro’s executive.
Milton Ribeiro, a professor, Presbyterian pastor and military officer in the Army reserve, replaced economist Carlos Decotelli, who was in office just five days and resigned due to academic and political scandals, such as suspected plagiarism and false academic titles in his curriculum.
Before Decotelli, the portfolio of Education was led by economist Abraham Weintraub, who had a management marked by strong controversies, such as disagreements with rectors, students and parliamentarians, after having imposed harsh cuts in Education, as well as causing diplomatic problems with China and Israel, eventually resigning the post.
In turn, Weintraub succeeded the Colombian philosopher naturalized Brazilian Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez, who imposed a strong ideological basis on his brief administration, which lasted three months and ended with his resignation required even by sectors linked to the Government.