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Queer Cultures and State Violence in Argentina and Spain, 1942–1982

Engendering Latin America Series

322 pages

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In Maricas Javier Fernández-Galeano traces the erotic lives and legal battles of Argentine and Spanish gender- and sexually nonconforming people who carved out their own spaces in metropolitan and rural cultures between the 1940s and the 1980s. In both countries, agents of the state, judiciary, and medical communities employed “social danger” theory to measure individuals’ latent criminality, conflating sexual and gender nonconformity with legal transgression.

Argentine and Spanish queer and trans communities rejected this mode of external categorization. Drawing on Catholicism and camp cultures that stretched across the Atlantic, these communities constructed alternative models of identification that remediated state repression and sexual violence through the pursuit of the sublime, be it erotic, religious, or cultural. In this pursuit they drew ideological and iconographic material from the very institutions that were most antagonistic to their existence, including the Catholic Church, the military, and reactionary mass media. Maricas incorporates non-elite actors, including working-class and rural populations, recruits, prisoners, folk music fans, and defendants’ mothers, among others. The first English-language monograph on the history of twentieth-century state policies and queer cultures in Argentina and Spain, Maricas demonstrates the many ways queer communities and individuals in Argentina and Spain fought against violence, rejected pathologization, and contested imposed, denigrating categorization.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction. Marica politics?
PART I: Anti-Marica Discourses and Praxis
Chapter I. Forensic Sexual Violence: Maricas’ “Deviant” Bodies and Minds
Chapter II. The Tacky & the Sublime: Transatlantic Entendido and Marica Cultures
PART II: The Erotics of Masculinity
Chapter III. “Exotic Lubrications:” Performing Masculinity in Sex Markets
Chapter IV. “People Don’t Know What a Homosexual Is:” Argentine Soldiers’ Sexual Culture under Dictatorial Rule
PART III: Marica Politics
Chapter V. Travesti and Marica Prisoners: Clothes, Performance, and Resistance
Chapter VI. From Inverse to Converging Paths: Early Sexual Activism in Argentina and Spain
Conclusions. Marica Archives and Histories of Emancipation

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