Teaching sexual diversity in Brazilian schools

an education experience in Foz do Iguazu


We intent in this paper to present a pedagogical experience that links anthropology and secondary schools in combating heterosexism and violence against LGBTQ community. The project created a pedagogical space where prejudice and discrimination for reasons of gender and sexuality were debated in an educational environment. We believe that especially in these times of global attacks on women's and LBGTQs’ rights and human rights, it is essential that at local level we keep on resisting and creating spaces in which reflection and deconstruction of oppressive structures are promoted. This article deals with the experience of education projects on gender and sexuality carried out by a Brazilian federal university in a city in the interior of the state of Paraná, located on the triple border of Brazil with Argentina and Paraguay. It is important to note that Paraná is a state considered as extremely conservative. We hope to show how we develop an experience of what we call “extension of the university” in Brazil, aligned with research and education on the subject of sexualities. We understand that this kind of project can be an efficient arena for applied anthropology and also as investment in educating young people as valuable human resources to combat violence and to promote peaceful communities. The experiment was carried out at the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA), as an extension of a larger and older project carried out by the Nucleus of Identities of Gender and Subjectivities (NIGS) based in the Federal University of Santa Catarina.

Author Biographies

Barbara Arisi, UNILA, VU

PhD in Social Anthropology (2011) in the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, with internship in the University of Oxford, UK. Associate teacher in the Pos-Graduation Programme in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies, Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (UNILA), Brazil, currently a visiting fellow in the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. Ex-dean of the Instituto Latino-Americano de Arte, Cultura e História, UNILA, Brazil. She is a member of the Associação Brasileira de Antropologia, member of its Indigenous Affair Commission.

Simone Ávila, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

PhD in Human Sciences, especialised in Gender Studies in the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (2014). Manager of Sexually Transmited Diseases and Health Public Policies  in Municipal Secretary of Health in Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. She is a member of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS). Author of the book "Transmasculinidades: A emergência de novas identidades políticas e sociais" (in English, Transmasculinities: emmergence of new political and social identities)..


Arianna Sala

 PhD in Psychology (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain, 2008) and Post Doctoral research in Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC, Brazil, 2012-14). She has experience in Education and Gender Studies. She had worked for the Ministery of Education in Brazil and for the Special Secretary of Policies for Women, public organ linked to the Republic Presidency of Brazil.