Crossing Sex and Gender in Latin America by Vek Lewis (auth.)

By Vek Lewis (auth.)

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The penetrating, active partner slips by the public radar that assigns gender atypicality thanks to his performance of establishment-aligned masculinity and is hence rarely labeled as homosexual. The loca or travesti who relates to this paradigm also understands her lover as nonhomosexual (Lumsden 1991; Carrier 1995; Murray 1995; Núñez Noriega 1999). The psychic dimensions to subjectivity are also interwoven with the social, whose interface is the body. The body becomes a site through which subjectivity is constructed and difference is articulated.

They may not pursue realism in any documentary or fauxobjective style, which is the claim of the writer Pedro Juan Gutiérrez in regard to his novel El Rey de la Habana, also studied in Chapter 4, but their depictions of gender-variant and trans acts and people still remit to our knowledge of real-life subjects, situations, and ways of talking about such subjects. They may themselves problematize the connection between literary practices of signification and our knowledge of the real world or real subjects—Bellatin’s text certainly does this and Arenas’s work plays Thinking Figurations Otherwise 43 with textual reversals and ironies, that is, the essence of the carnivalesque.

This need not set the critic adrift for any lack of a speaking position or valid argument, however. Rather, the predominance of certain constructions of meaning and culturally embedded knowledge formulations in incessant circulation demands an intervention at this level, at the level of the signification, which in turn presents us with a politics of representation. The work of Reinaldo Arenas, examined in Chapter 2, as well as the novel by Mario Bellatin, considered in Chapter 4, provide good examples of this point.

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