Biden's State Department Is Putting Brazilian Trans Activists in English Classes

US embassy partners with group that claims 'every cis person is transphobic'

May 19, 2023

The Biden administration plans to teach more than two dozen "trans activists" in Brazil how to speak English as part of its partnership with a radical advocacy group that claims "every cis person is transphobic."

The State Department program is in coordination with Brazilian transgender activist group ANTRA and Georgetown University. The organizers have "selected 26 trans community activists from across Brazil" to participate in the "14-week-basic English course," the U.S. embassy in Brazil announced on Monday.

According to the U.S. embassy, the "goal of the course is to provide the participants with English-language skills to communicate and advocate for their community" and to "increase their chances of entering the job market."

A lack of English skills "prevents many trans activists [in Brazil] from engaging in a wide range of activities as well as from accessing global information related to trans issues," State Department official Maria Snarski said in the announcement. "We believe this new initiative will be helpful in connecting the trans community through English."

The initiative is part of a larger push by the State Department to fund training programs for transgender communities around the world. Earlier this year, the department offered a $500,000 grant to fund English classes for transgender youth in Pakistan. The Biden administration has also committed taxpayer dollars to support climate activists abroad, the Washington Free Beacon reported in March.

It is unclear how much the English lessons will cost the American taxpayers. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

The embassy's partner ANTRA (which stands for National Association for Trans Women and Travestis, a Latin American term for men who believe they are women) was founded in 2000 in Brazil. It produces reports on violence against transgender people and advocates for transgender-related issues. ANTRA secretary of political articulation Bruna Benevides, who identifies as a trans woman, said the program "offers the opportunity for trans activists to expand their activism" and improve the "visibility of our cause."

The organization has lobbied for expanded access to hormone therapy for gender-questioning children, transgender participation in women's sports, and transgender access to women-only bathrooms and changing rooms. In 2019, ANTRA produced a short film titled My First Bra, which featured a 12-year-old "transgender girl" modeling long hair in front of a mirror and experimenting with a bra.

On social media, ANTRA has claimed that all non-transgender people are transphobic, slammed "cis feminists" for allegedly contributing to anti-trans violence, and defended a transgender person who last December threatened to assault a black woman in a university bathroom.

"There is no cis [non-transgender] person who is not transphobic since they were formed in a cissexist structure," the group wrote in one Twitter post.

In other posts, ANTRA claimed that "every cis person is transphobic" and that "cis people do not have the emotional maturity to receive criticism for their transphobic practices."

The group criticized "cis women" for putting the trans community "in constant danger."

One hundred percent of "cases of violence against transvestites and trans women in women's bathrooms were motivated by cis women. Public cases accumulate," the group wrote in a post.

ANTRA said hatred against transgender people was "fueled by cis women who have sided with the far right against trans rights around the world" and claimed that "cis left-wing women and cis gay men aligned with [radical feminism] are the main disseminators of transphobia."

Last December, a video emerged of a transgender person, wearing a dress and a beard, who threatened to slap a young female student who had questioned why the person was in a women's bathroom at the University of Brasília.

"I thought it was a man, right?" said the female student in an interview last year. "Because I saw the beard. Then I asked him what he was doing in the bathroom. Because there are cases of harassment and rape that happen inside the university and I get really scared of these things."

In the video, the transgender person can be heard yelling at the female student: "I am not a dude! Nothing is keeping me from bringing my hand to your face. Girl, you better respect me! Respect me!"

ANTRA argued that the woman had provoked the transgender person by filming the exchange and said she should pay reparations to the trans community.

"The cis black woman is the aggressor and must be held accountable for her actions," said ANTRA. "Faced with the risk of expulsion and as alternative measures, we consider the reparation proposals we have made reasonable for the violations she committed against the trans community, especially the victim."

In another post in 2021, ANTRA wrote that "CIS BLACK people need to work through their transphobia and cissexism. We've been pointing this out for years!"