LGBTQ community in progressive Argentina says President Milei has turned back the clock

Few in Argentina are more enraged by right-wing President Javier Milei’s anti-woke agenda than LGBTQ+ activists, who worry his new government is rolling back their hard-won gains.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — When Luana Salva got her first formal job after years of prostitution, she was ecstatic.

A quota law in Argentina that promoted the inclusion of transgender people in the work force — unprecedented in Latin America expect in neighboring Uruguay — pulled her from the capital’s street corners into the Foreign Ministry last year.

Yet just months after Salva got her first paycheck, right-wing President Javier Milei entered office and began slashing public spending as part of his state overhaul to solve Argentina’s worst economic crisis in two decades. Abruptly fired in a wave of government layoffs, Salva said her world began to unravel.

“The only option we have left is prostitution ... and I don’t see myself standing on a corner, getting cold, enduring violence,” Salva, 43, said. “This government is unaware of all that has been built to make us feel included.”

Salva’s sudden reversal of fortunes reflects the political whiplash being felt across Argentina. Past left-leaning presidents who enacted some of the most socially liberal policies on the continent have given way to a self-proclaimed “ anarcho-capitalist ” whose fiery appraisals of social justice and efforts to dismantle diversity and equity programs have made him into a global far-right icon.

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