Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Frontiers/Fronteras/Fronteiras in Latin American/Latin@ Queer and
Sexuality Studies Symposium

9:00AM–12:30PM, 1:30PM–5:00PM in Herter Hall 301, Umass Amherst
Panel 1: State of Political Movements - 9:00AM to 12:30PM

"Queering Indigeneity in the Andes"
Tara Daly, Mt. Holyoke College

It is not altogether common to hear indigenous discourse intersect with queer
discourse in the Andes. In late June 2008, there was a three-day Cumbre social de mujeres in Sucre, Bolivia, a summit that was attended by some 500 women, more than
half who were in polleras, the traditional indigenous skirt. During the summit, there
was ongoing translation from Spanish to both Quechua and Aymara. At the end of the
three days, during the final consensus building process, a heated debate broke out
about the rights of “all women” as to be posed in the new constitution under Evo
Morales. A minority of women, about five in total, argued that “lesbian” belonged under
the umbrella term of “women,” while a large group of women claimed that it was not
time to “complicate the issue” of indigenous and women’s rights with queer
perspectives. This incident reveals the ongoing fraught relationship between the rights
of indigenous peoples, women, and queer populations as they play out in popular
discourse. My talk will trace some of the points of entry to a conversation in the Andes
around the overlaps and disconnects between queer discourse and indigeneity,
touching upon the colonial period and today’s decolonial movements in the Andes.

"The State of/in Movements: Decolonial Justice and Sexual Politics in Ecuador's Citizen Revolution"
Amy Lind, University of Cincinnati

This paper looks at the work that activists from various social movements have done
to resignify key concepts such as family, nation, and economic well-being as part of the work of social, economic, and political transformation in Ecuador. In particular, I
explore ways that both the process of such resignification as well as the
resignifications themselves open up spaces for the coming together of LGBTI, feminist,
migrants' rights, and indigenous struggles in the context of the "post-neoliberal"
Citizen Revolution. I look particularly closely at the ways that queerness play into new
state logics, such as in how "LGBTI rights" are embraced by the state - as in the
appointment of "out" lesbian activist Carina Vance as Minister of Health in January
2012 - while more traditional social movement demands, such as reproductive and
indigenous rights, remain marginalized and mostly "outside" the Citizen Revolution,
and heteronormativity continues to underly state policies and assistance programs.
What is at stake in the state's seemingly contradictory embrace of LGBT struggles and
ambivalent stance towards feminist and anti-racist struggles? I draw out the
implications of this study for Ecuador's proposed post-capitalist and decolonial future,
and for broader discussions of decoloniality and the Left turn in the Américas.

“Trans Participation in Latin American and Caribbean Lesbian Feminist Gatherings”
Pascha Bueno-Hansen, University of Delaware

The debate regarding the participation of trans explosively marked the VIII Latin
American and Caribbean Lesbian Feminist gathering/Encuentro Lésbico-Feminista
Latinoamericano y Caribeño (ELFLAC) in 2010. This rupture resulted in two separate
gatherings in 2012, the EFLAC in Copacabana, Bolivia and the inauguration of the new Encuentro Les/Bi/Trans Feminista in Asunción, Paraguay. After fourteen years of
successful gatherings/encuentros, the regional lesbian feminist movement's
fragmentation demands a reflection on the differing political positions and underlying
external pressures. Those that take a hard-line against trans inclusion, such as the
Peruvian lesbian feminists, are easily dismissed as retrograde in that cling to biological
essentialism. Yet, the story is much more complicated. Besides the spectacular
expression of transphobia, this paper considers the role of funders, power
asymmetries in the circulation of political agendas regarding queer/sexuality, the
influence of national contexts in determining political positions at the regional level,
and the problematic dynamics internal to the ELFLAC.

"We Feel That The Gay Community Can Take Care Of Its Own": Miami’s Politically Charged Movement And The Queer Marielitos' Assimilation, 1980 - 1995
Julio Capó

Capó's paper examines how a newly politicized gay and lesbian community in Miami
linked its own struggle for inclusion and acceptance to the experiences of recently
arrived Marielitos, a new wave of Cuban immigrants purged from the island. The
Marielitos--many of whom the Cuban government deemed "undesirable" and "counterrevolutionary" as a result of their sexual and gender deviancy?-renegotiated
their own identities as queer individuals, Cuban exiles, and transnational subjects torn
between two nation-states that refused to fully embrace them. While their queer
identities secured their exit from the island, an allegiance from their queer "brothers
and sisters" struggling for political legitimacy in the United States ultimately helped
them assimilate into their new home.


Panel 2: State of the Field - 1:30PM to 5:00PM

"The Lives of Lupe/Lupín: A Queer Mexican Story in the Time of Neoliberalism"
Margaret Cerullo, Hampshire College

In our paper we recount the life history of a Mexican hombre/mujer (man/woman)
who was brutally murdered in her home village in 2007. We propose that this story
can best be understood by queering the framework of violence against women or
feminicide and emphasizing the impact of neoliberalism and transnational migration on
the gender order. Attention to the ways in which “queerness” has entered the
vernacular discourses of transnational migration reveals little-noticed dimensions of
the violence of the epochal transformations through which we are all—differentially—
living.

"Engaging Mainstream Social Behavioral Research on Latina/o Sexualities in the United States"
Marysol Asencio, University of Connecticut

Drawing from the 2005-2008 Ford-funded initiative which mapped Latina/o
sexualities research in the social science and behavioral sciences, the talk will focus on the empirical and theoretical limitations in the current state of mainstream Latina/o
sexualities research as a whole. While there has been more interest on the subject of
sexuality across traditional disciplines, a recent expansion of mainstream sexuality and
sexual health research with Latina/o populations, there are also significant gaps in
subjects addressed, the populations studied, a continuing uncritical engagement of
static "cultural" models, and a lack of hemispheric perspectives and exchanges. The
ability to significantly alter the future of state of the field will need to address current
funding streams supporting research, academic constraints, and advancing the
prominence of critical Latina/o and Latin American sexualities scholarship in the field.

"Toward a Representative Bureaucracy: Capacity-building and Sexual Rights Activism in Brazil"
Rafael de la Dehasa

“Capacity-building” has become a mainstay of development and public health discourse and public policy in recent decades, referring variably to an array of often
contradictory goals, expectations and prescriptions, including the transmission of
knowledge, skills or infrastructure; the production of organizational capacities; the
validation and incorporation into policy of local or experiential knowledges; and the
promotion of certain types of subjectivity (e.g. citizen; gay) through practices of self, as
in workshops to promote self-esteem. This paper explores the multi-stranded
genealogy of capacity-building as a technique of governmentality that has transformed
the structure and orientation of sexual rights activism in Brazil. Highlighting pitfalls
and tensions inherent to its realization, the paper locates its emergence at the
crosscurrents of both new left demands for community participation and new right
calls for a retrenchment and reinvention of the state.

"Me Pongo y Me Quito: Articulations of Gender and Sexuality in Latina/o Popular Music"
Micaela Díaz-Sanchez, Mt. Holyoke College

Co-organizers: WGSS and CLACLS, with support from the Five College Council on
Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies and the Horwitz Endowment. Cosponsors include the Sociology Department, Communication, Stonewall Center, and
College of Public Health at UMass, Five College Latin American, Caribbean, and
Latino Studies Council, Mt. Holyoke Gender Studies and Latin American Studies, and
the Hampshire College Feminist Studies Program and Latin@ and Latin American
Studies.