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social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Argentina  
 
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In 1930 Argentina had the first coup d'état in the country's history and the following decade was characterized by military governments and presidents who had been elected through fraud. In this context, conservative politics dominated and the Roman Catholic Church began to play a stronger role within the state. Prostitution was prohibited and police persecution of homosexuals increased.

The emergence of Peronism in the 1940s increased nationalist fervor and continued the pattern of equating Argentine identity with masculinity, while representing homosexuality as a danger to the nation. In fact, during Perón's rule, prostitution was endorsed as an effective way of preventing men from having sexual intercourse with other men.

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Little is known of the period between the 1950s and the end of the 1960s because the few scholars who research queer studies in Argentina have concentrated on previous periods.

Emergence of Gay Activism

In 1969, however, the first Argentine gay and lesbian organization was created. Named Nuestro Mundo [Our World], it had a development independent of the gay and lesbian movement in the United States. This organization was unaware of the Stonewall Riots and the growth of the gay and lesbian movement at this time in the U.S. In 1971 they learned about the events in the United States and adopted a new name, Frente de Liberación Homosexual (FLH), [Homosexual Liberation Front]. In 1972, the first lesbian political group was formed, Safo, and it became a member of the FLH.

Although the name Frente de Liberación Homosexual may reflect an influence from the United States, the group saw their fight differently from the movement developed in the U.S. According to the FLH, gay men and lesbians had to be part of the process of liberation that was occurring at the time in Argentina. They constructed alliances with the Argentine left, especially with left wing Peronism, and they thought that it was important to build a country free from imperialistic domination. Some activists from the FLH, such as Manuel Puig and Néstor Perlonger, later became renowned as intellectuals and artists.

In 1976 there was another coup d'état. This period of military dictatorship was the cruelest in Argentinian history, and the growing social conservatism affected glbtq people. Many members of the FLH were among the 30,000 "disappeared" people. They were kidnapped and murdered, while others were forced into exile. Few activists from this generation are still alive, because those who did survive later had to face the AIDS epidemic.

The Transition to Democracy

In 1984 there was a new transition to democracy. At this time the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA) [Argentine Homosexual Community] was created. This organization was inspired by the emergence of the Human Rights movement at the time and its main slogan referred to the free practice of sexuality as a human right.

The CHA tried to stop police persecution, they offered legal services, and they encouraged public discussion of sexual freedom. In 1992, after a contested public debate, the CHA was recognized as a legal entity.

The feminist group Lugar de Mujer sponsored lesbian-themed workshops and think tanks. The lesbian magazine and group, Cuadernos de Existencia Lesbiana, emerged in 1987.

The 1990s

During the 1990s gay men and lesbians began to be recognized as equals by some sectors of the population. In 1996 the newly written Constitution of the city of Buenos Aires included sexual orientation in an anti-discrimination article. The city of Rosario also included sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination statute.

During the 1990s many new organizations were created and the Argentine glbtq movement grew in diversity. Lesbians found their own space in several groups and individuals began to fight against police persecution, which continues to be a problem.

In Argentina people known as "transvestites" constitute an identity different from cross-dressers or drag queens. They are people whom Americans would describe as transgendered. They are persons raised as men who not only cross-dress but also use silicon transplants and hormones to grow breasts and feminize other parts of the body, and they frequently identify as women. Although "transvestites"--like --transform their bodies, they do not seek sexual reassignment surgery.

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