Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the World Health Organization encourages homosexuality and masturbation among young children, his latest clash with an organization whose advice on social distancing and other anti-coronavirus measures he has repeatedly questioned.
The far-right leader made the claim, without citing a source, in a Facebook post he later deleted.
"This is the World Health Organization whose advice on coronavirus some people want me to follow," he wrote late Wednesday.
"Should we follow their education policy guidelines, too? For children zero to four years old: satisfaction and pleasure when touching their bodies, masturbation.... For children four to six years old: a positive gender identity... masturbation in early childhood, same-sex relations.... Nine to 12 years old: first sexual experience."
The allegations appeared to stem from social media posts suggesting the WHO encourages such practices among young children.
A Bolsonaro adviser, Arthur Weintraub, had earlier tweeted, "The WHO has guidelines recommending children zero to four years old be taught about 'masturbation,' 'pleasure and enjoyment,' 'touching one's body' and 'gender ideology.' Is that right?"
The origin of the information appeared to be a 2010 guide called "Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe," published by Germany's Federal Centre for Health Education and the WHO's European office.
Though not its main focus, the guide briefly explains that young children are typically discovering their bodies, and tells parents and educators that behavior such as touching oneself and curiosity about sexuality are normal in kids.
But it does not call on them to encourage any of the behaviors mentioned by Bolsonaro.
Sometimes called the "Tropical Trump," Bolsonaro, like his US counterpart, is an avid social media user, firing up his core supporters on Facebook and Twitter.
He has regularly been at odds with the WHO since the coronavirus pandemic began.
He says social distancing measures are needlessly wrecking the economy over a virus he compares to a "little flu," and recently fired Health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who was popular with his pro-confinement, pro-science handling of the crisis.
The president's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Facebook post.
© 2020 AFP