Romania bans gender studies

Romanian academics and students expressed outrage on Wednesday over MPs' support for a ban on the teaching of gender studies in schools and universities, following a similar move in neighbouring Hungary, news wires reported. "We are astounded that an academic theory could be banned by the law,” read a statement from the Babes-Bolyai University, Romania's second largest.

An amendment to a law on education voted through by MPs on Tuesday bans “activities propagating theories and opinions on gender identity according to which gender is a separate concept from biological sex.” The amendment was put forward by a lawmaker from a small, centre-right party but was carried largely thanks to votes from the left-wing Social Democrats (PSD), who have a majority in parliament despite not being in government.

“Courses on gender identity and equal opportunities will be banned, in contravention of academic freedom,” centre-right senator and university professor Vlad Alexandrescu said in a Facebook post.

The ban, however, must be approved by centre-right President Klaus Iohannis before it enters into force. Several students' associations and NGOs have launched a petition calling on Iohannis to reject the measure. The petition, which gathered more than 16,000 signatures in the space of a few hours, says the ban would "contravene Romania's obligations” towards international institutions such as the UN.

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