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social sciences

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While hate crimes directed at glbtq people are all too common, the repression of gay men and lesbians became less pervasive at the end of the twentieth century. However, transsexuals and transvestites continued to suffer persecution. Many of them had to seek refuge in other countries as political exiles.

Recent Events

In spite of the fact that the police have recently become increasingly repressive as part of a general tendency in Argentine society unrelated to queer issues, there have been positive changes in the new century.

Sponsor Message.

In 2003 the city of Buenos Aires approved same-sex civil unions. Although civil unions did not provide all the benefits of heterosexual marriage, the law created new possibilities and expectations among members of the queer community.

In addition, during the new century Buenos Aires became a major tourist destination for gay and lesbian travelers across the world. This economic development both energized the local glbtq groups and also served to increase tolerance throughout the country.

In 2009, a judge in Buenos Aires granted a gay couple permission to be married. The couple, Alex Freyre and José María Bello, became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Argentina. The ruling permitting that marriage applied only to that couple, though subsequently eight other couples were also married as a result of separate judicial rulings.

Meanwhile, legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage nationally advanced in Congress, and a lawsuit that would legalize same-sex marriage was filed for review by Argentina's Supreme Court.

In May 2010, at the urging of President Cristina Fernández, Argentina's House of Representatives approved a marriage equality law. On July 15, after an impassioned debate that lasted almost 16 hours, the law was ratified by the Senate.

The victory in Argentina came after strenuous efforts to derail the legislation by the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches. President Fernández criticized the tone taken by the religious groups, saying that they "recall the times of the Inquisition."

Marriage equality advocate Evan Wolfson issued a statement hailing the historic vote as a measure of how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values."

Pablo Ben

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social sciences >> Overview:  Civil Union

Vermont's Civil Union law conferred all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage on same-sex couples.

social sciences >> Overview:  Cross-Dressing

Cross-dressers have often been misunderstood and maligned, especially in societies with rigid gender roles.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Partnerships

"Domestic partnership" is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of same-sex marriage.

arts >> Overview:  Latin American Art

Gay and lesbian Latin American artists frequently use their art to portray their desire for sexual and political liberation, often combining traditional subject matter with personal symbols and insights to stress their longing for acceptance.

literature >> Overview:  Latin American Literature

Although Latin Americans have produced many works that have homoerotic themes or gay and lesbian characters, their sensibilities are largely different from those of North American and European writers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

arts >> Molina, Miguel de

Miguel de Molina reinvented the Spanish flamenco performance, but his open gayness and gender-bending stage persona provoked hostile reactions that plagued his career.

literature >> Puig, Manuel

Homosexual themes and motifs are suggested in a number of Manuel Puig's eight novels, and in the best known of them, Kiss of the Spider Woman, homosexual desire is central to the fiction.


Alvarez, Ana Gabriela. "The City Cross-Dressed: Sexual Rights and Roll-Backs in De la Rúa's Buenos Aires." Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 9.2 (August 2000): 137-53.

Balderston, Daniel, and Donna Guy. Sex and Sexuality in Latin America. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

Bao, Daniel. "Invertidos Sexuales, Tortilleras, and Maricas Machos: The Construction of Homosexuality in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1900-1950." If You Seduce a Straight Person, Can You Make Them Gay?: Issues in Biological Essentialism versus Social Constructionism in Gay and Lesbian Identities. John P. De Cecco and John P. Elia, eds. New York: Haworth Press, 1993.

Berco, Cristian. "Silencing the Unmentionable: Non-Reproductive Sex and the Creation of a Civilized Argentina, 1860-1900." The Americas 58.3 (January 2002): 419-41.

Brown, Stephen. "'Con discriminación y represión no hay democracia.' The Lesbian and Gay Movement in Argentina." Latin American Perspectives 29.2 (March 2002): 119-38.

Foster, David William. "Argentine Intellectuals and Homoeroticism: Néstor Perlongher and Juan José Sebreli," Hispania (USA) 84.3 (September 2001): 441-450.

Jáuregui, Carlos Luis. La homosexualidad en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Tarso, 1987.

Molloy, Sylvia. "La política de la pose." Las culturas de fin de siglo en América Latina. Ludmer Josefina, comp. Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo Editoria, 1994.

Rapisardi, Flavio, and Alejandro Modarelli. Fiestas, baños y exilios : los gays porteños en la última dictadura. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 2001.

Salessi, Jorge. "The Argentine Dissemination of Homosexuality, 1890-1914." Entiendes?: Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings. Emilie L. Bergmann and Paul Julian Smith, eds. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1995. 49-91.

_____. "Identificaciones científicas y resistencias políticas." Las culturas de fin de siglo en América Latina. Ludmer Josefina, comp. Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo Editoria, 1994.

_____. Médicos maleantes y maricas: higiene, criminología y homosexualidad en la construcción de la nación Argentina, Buenos Aires: 1871-1914. Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo, 1995.

_____, and Patrick O'Connor. "For Carnival, Clinic, and Camera: Argentina's Turn-of-the-Century Drag Culture Performs 'Woman.'" Negotiating Performance: Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality in Latin/o America. Diana Taylor and Juan Villegas, eds. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1994.

Sebreli, Juan José. Escritos sobre escritos, ciudades bajo ciudades, 1950-1997. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1997.


    Citation Information
    Author: Ben, Pablo  
    Entry Title: Argentina  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated July 20, 2010  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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