Customs guideline?


The term “customs” sounds like something individual, secondary, relative. It is understandable that the media and reactionaries manipulate the term, but it is not acceptable for progressive people to use the expression

By Julian Rodrigues*

“For a world where we are socially equal, humanly different and totally free”. (Rose Luxemburg)

When informing, in February, that the STF would decide on the “criminalization of homophobia”, the Estadão reported that it was a subject with the potential to operate a collision between the Judiciary and the National Congress – as it would be the first topic on a list of the “customs agenda”.

The former president of the Central Bank during the FHC government, Arminio Fraga, praised, in October, at the Value, the economic agenda of the Bolsonaro government, but harshly criticized its “customs agenda”.

In September, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), president of the Chamber, in an interview with Sheet, highlighted: “the Bolsonaro government’s agenda will not get off the ground”.

The PSDB's National Congress approved a manifesto in early December, which states: "we consider that the government – ​​any government – ​​should not interfere with customs".

The president of Novo, in October, said in an interview to the magazine Examination, that the “customs agenda” is defined by the citizen, not imposed by the Party.

Bernardo Ricupero, in an instigating article published on the website the earth is round (, says that the center-right: “has developed a schizophrenic relationship with the government [Bolsonaro]: it defends the economic program, but shows reticence with the customs agenda”.

Commander Zé Dirceu, who returns to regular columnism, published in his most recent column: “sectors of the so-called Centrão and the liberal opposition are openly opposed to the president’s mores agenda”.


I can't exactly identify the origin of the expression. Nor at what time were the themes of gender equality, racial equality, sexual and reproductive rights, human rights, affirmative policies, recognition of diversity compressed and reduced to the “customs agenda”.

In the dictionary, custom is equivalent to habit (like: waking up early). For the law, it seems that it can be defined as a “frequent practice”, it is confused with the concept of tradition.

The problem is that, who knows exactly why, a good part of the conservative press (which contaminated people on the left), manipulates the concept of agenda or agenda of “customs”.

An immediate advantage of using this expression is not having to explain exactly what you are talking about. Fashion? Culture? Gastronomy? Music? Language? Another facility is that they do not need to position themselves either for or against. After all, “customs” sounds like something very individual, secondary, relative.

It is understandable that the media and reactionaries alike misjudge the term. What you cannot understand, much less accept, are progressive people: intellectuals, activists, artists, academics, militants, to use the expression.

rights agenda

It's not that hard work. Not that difficult to understand. Instead of talking about “customs agenda”, just say: “rights agenda”.

Although it is not explicit, when someone uses the term “customs agenda”, what is actually being said is gender equality, racial equality, LGBTI rights, civil rights, sexual and reproductive rights, recognition of diversity, of human rights, after all.

In other words: there is nothing “custom”, behavioral or cultural details. It's about RIGHTS. From the struggle to end discrimination and oppression. Full recognition of rights and equality. We are talking about the feminist and anti-racist struggle. And the journey for sexual and reproductive rights. For the recognition of minorities and all human diversity.

Every time someone uses the term “customs agenda” the intention is to “pass a cloth”, to underestimate the struggle of women, black men and women, LGBTI, young people, peripherals, dissidents. No one is concerned with individual habits. What we want is recognition of rights. Build a world without oppression of any kind.

So let's agree: no one on the left will use the term "customs" when talking about feminist, anti-racist, LGBTI, etc. agendas.

*Julian Rodrigues he is a journalist and professor; activist of the LGBTI and Human Rights movements.

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