Argentina Elects Far-Right Anti-LGBTQ+ President. By a Hair.

Javier Milei.

I threw out my back today. I have only myself to blame. I was doing something dangerous, something I should have asked someone to help me with. And that something was bending slightly to get a towel from under the bathroom counter.

What I’m saying is, life comes at you fast. As Gilda Radner used to say, “It’s always something.”

But hey, at least I don’t live in Argentina, a country that just elected a far-right, anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive freedom to the presidency. Something the United States would never, ever, ever do. (A girl can dream.)

Javier Milei has been called, “the Trump of Argentina,” and not just because of his hair, though he’s been nicknamed “El Peluca,” which means The Wig.

Like Trump, Milei ran on an extremist far-right platform. And like Trump, his hair seems to have gotten more press coverage than the fact that he wants to “shutter the country’s central bank, replace the peso with the dollar and create a market for selling human organs,” according to the Wall Street Journal. In an article titled, “This Politician Just Won Argentina’s Primary. His Hair Is Baffling the World.”

“Milei’s unkempt, moppy hairdo is clearly purposeful—a billboard for his devil-may-care style of politics,” Benjamin Gedan, director of the Latin American program at the nonpartisan think tank the Wilson Center, said in an email to WSJ. “His political brand is all about the rejection of traditional political parties, traditional political elites, and traditional political hairstyles.”

It’s not a good look. Milei’s hair, yes, but I mainly mean the media. As Donald Trump ratchets up his extremist rhetoric and literally is mapping out a fascist takeover of the federal government, the press seems to have learned nothing from covering him in 2015 and 2016. That lesson being don’t underestimate bad guys, and don’t let them get away with shit unchallenged.

So, yeah, Argentina. The first Latin American country to legalize abortion just three short years ago has elected a man who wants to “repeal the country’s 2020 landmark legalisation of abortion,” has described social justice as an “aberration,” and wants to shut down the country’s ministry of women, gender and diversity, according to The Guardian.

Sounds bad!

“It’s a very bleak picture,” Soledad Deza of the Fundación Mujeres x Mujeres told The Guardian. “This is a government that is promising us greater inequality and – from the first minute – that the autonomy, sovereignty and independence of our bodies is not going to be supported by the state.”

Unsurprisingly, Milei’s disdain isn’t just for women, it also extends to LGBTQ+ people.

And to think that Argentina was doing so well on LGBTQ+ issues.

“Since 2010, the nation has made significant strides, starting with being the first in the region to legalize same-sex marriage,” according to Outright International. “A pivotal move was the enactment of the 2012 Gender Identity Law, which allowed people to change their gender on official documents based on self-determination without undergoing surgeries, therapy, or other invasive or bureaucratic requirements and ensured that transgender people received comprehensive medical care. The nation further asserted its commitment to equality in 2015 when it lifted a ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. In 2020, Argentina again broke ground in the region when it legislated a trans labor quota that expanded employment opportunities for those who have experienced systemic marginalization on the basis of their gender identity. Additionally, Argentina is one of the few countries worldwide that has established a government special representative on sexual orientation and gender identity, further emphasizing its dedication to this cause. That this position is held by a trans woman, Alba Rueda, only further cements Argentina’s leadership in walking the talk on LGBTQ inclusion.”

On election night, Milei told a crowd of supporters, “Today the reconstruction of Argentina begins.”

And, sadly, what that means is moving the country backward on progressive issues. And that’s going to hurt people.

“His policies,” according to Outright International, “are likely to undermine LGBTQ social movements, advance a rigid understanding of gender rooted in biological determinism, and roll back hard-won rights.”

And that’s likely going to have a ripple effect across Latin America.

“Given Argentina’s historical political significance in Latin America, any shift in its stance on such crucial matters can influence the broader regional political landscape, possibly setting a precedent for neighboring nations,” according to Outright International.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to curl up with a heating pad and cry for Argentina.

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living life with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter.