Table Of Content
- About the Editor
- About the Book
- This eBook can be cited
- Editor’s Note
- Rafael M. Mérida-Jiménez
- Introduction—Hispanic/Masculinities/Transition: An Introduction
- Dieter Ingenschay
- 1—Sexual Movements Without Sex? Sex-Talk in the Spanish Gay Liberation Movement
- Kerman Calvo
- Spanish Revolutionary Homosexual Liberation
- Abandoning Homosexuals to Their Lives
- Boyfriends, Gay Bar, Militancy, and Franco
- (Gay) Freedom Fighters
- 2—Butches Excluded: Female Masculinities and Their (non) Representations in Spain
- Gracia Trujillo
- Masculinities without Men
- Of Silence and Invisibility. Coming Out from a Dictatorship
- Butches Are Not “Women”
- Queer or the Language of Desire(s)
- Some Final Notes
- 3—Bodily, Gender, and Identity Projects in Spain: From the Transvestite to the Transsexual
- Óscar Guasch & Jordi Mas
- 4—Embodiments of Class and Nation in Eloy de la Iglesia’s Gay Films
- Alfredo Martínez-Expósito
- Films by Eloy de la Iglesia Mentioned
- 5—Queer Pastoral: Rural Homoeroticism on Film during the Early Years of the Spanish Transition
- Alberto Mira
- The Spanish Transition and Representation
- Queering the “sainete”: El vicari d’Olot
- Gonzalo Suárez’s Parranda and the Representation of Queer Sexuality
- Films Mentioned
- 6—From Stage to Screen: Flor de Otoño’s Transitional Impersonations
- Rafael M. Mérida-Jiménez
- Trans Contexts
- A Story from the Barrio Chino (“Red-Light District”)
- 7—Undressing Masculinity: Male Dress and Accoutrements in Four Female Spanish Characters
- Elena Madrigal-Rodríguez
- The Man I Am
- A Deeper Look into the Literary
- The Novels
- Closing Comments
- 8—Machos or divinas? A Quandary in Argentinean and Spanish Gay Activism
- Jorge Luis Peralta
- From Villa Gerli to las Ramblas: Itineraries of an Activism
- Gay Liberation and “Sexual Roles”
- Masculinity/Feminity: Opposite Poles in the Argentinean and Spanish Activism Debate
- 9—Demasculinizing: Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity in Spanish Art and Culture
- Juan Vicente Aliaga
- 10—Female Masculinity on Stage: Young Man! and the Subversion of Gender Roles
- Richard Cleminson & Carlos Pons
- Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort
- Youth, Death, and Machismo
- Playing with Masculinity
This volume aims to offer a whole of different approaches around the plurality of lesbian, gay, and trans masculinities in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s. The end of the Francoist dictatorship (1975) and the reappearance of the democratic freedom suspended after the Civil War (1936–1939) determined the historical period known as the Transition. Multiple political, social, and sexual tensions characterized that time and turned it into a topic that has been object of study of the interdisciplinary research project entitled “Representaciones culturales de las sexualidades marginadas en España (1970–1995)” [“Cultural Representations of Marginalized Sexualities in Spain (1970–1995)”], FEM 2011-24064, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
It is important to recall, among the publications of this international group of researchers, the seventeenth issue of Lectora: Revista de dones i textualitat, published in 2012—focused on Hispanic literatures and LGTBQ studies—or the contributions to the book Minorías sexuales en España (1970–1995): Textos y representaciones (Barcelona: Icaria, 2013), among many others. As the supervisor of the team, I would deeply thank all its members for their generosity and interest during the last three years. In addition, I must thank José L. Ramos-Rebollo for his invaluable help during the preparation of this volume, which could have never been completed without his unremitting support and dedication.
Serra Húnter Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies
Universitat de Lleida/Centre Dona i Literatura ← vii | viii → ← viii | ix →
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
If masculinity studies have succeeded in challenging the social sciences and humanities since the 1980s, this has been due to important scholars—such as Raewyn Connell, George Mosse, Pierre Bourdieu, Michael S. Kimmel, and others—and their groundbreaking studies, and to the same degree to the unforeseen advances in women’s studies.1 It was Simone de Beauvoir’s insight that the “unmarked” gender had ceased to be automatically male. She argued that being a man was not simply the “normal case” and that men were not the “first sex” any longer in the second half of the twentieth century. Being conscious about what masculinity studies owe to feminism, Rachel Adams and David Savran have asked rather polemically whether “masculinity studies represent a beneficial extension of feminist analysis or does it represent a hijacking of feminism?” (Adams and Savran 7). By now, over a decade later, hardly anyone will question the rightful existence of masculinity studies as an autonomous discipline, and the above mentioned pioneers’ work has been extended all over the world by numerous theoretical studies and has been completed by a huge number of locally determined empirical investigations. These have made inquiries into many urgent issues of historical or contemporary political, social, and cultural life. One of the most influential notions when studying the impact of men has probably been Connell’s notion of hegemonic masculinity (Connell Gender and Masculinities), inspired, as are large parts of gender studies on the whole, by Michel Foucault, a concept which aims at the very heart of the practice of gender inequalities, i.e., to the subordination of women by men (Gracia Trujillo’s essay in this volume further investigates Connell’s thesis from a new and consequent angle). Recently, voices can be heard that warn against a demonization of masculinity, against blaming men for all evil in the world, as if fascism, colonialism, imperialism, dictatorship, and injustice were simply masculine qualities, hence reducing questions of power and hegemony to a mere problem of testosterone. Masculinity studies have ← 1 | 2 → shown that not only women are men’s victims, but rather that male power constellations suppress men as well.
That the rapes of homosexuals in Franco’s prisons are a perfect paradigm of hegemonic masculinity is one of the insights of Juan Vicente Aliaga’s article in this book (“Demasculinizing: Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity in Spanish Art and Culture”), in which he goes back to the repressive climate of the 1970s, created by the anti-gay Ley de Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social (Law of Social Dangerousness and Social Rehabilitation), amended in August 1970, exacerbating the former law against vagos y maleantes (“vagrants and wasters”) and extending it to large parts of the (mainly male) Spanish homosexual community. While early forms of “transgressive” masculinities (often taking the form of transvestism) emerged in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s, Aliaga focuses on more recent activist groups challenging and questioning gender binarism in the 1990s.
The significant break between the 1970s and 1980s on the one hand and the 1990s on the other is treated in almost all of the articles in the volume the reader has in hand. Taken as a whole, they reflect the fundamental changes that masculinities underwent towards the end of the twentieth century in Spain since Franco’s death in November 1975. Its interdisciplinary approach and international authors make a significant contribution to the field of historical masculinity studies—a particularly important task–as cultural discourse in Spain suffered from a remarkably late discovery of feminism in general, and masculinity and queer subjects in particular. Nevertheless, feminist and gay movements had appeared shortly after Franco’s death, first the Catalonian FAGC, as Kerman Calvo, a specialist in comparative research on gay movements, shows in his article for this volume (“Sexual Movements Without Sex? Sex-Talk in the Spanish Gay Liberation Movement”). Calvo distinguishes radical from revolutionary movements, uncovers their Marxist foundations as well as the lack of historical models in Spain (as opposed to, say, Jeffrey Weeks’s views on the British nineteenth century). In fact, the same could be said about my own field, and from my personal perspective as a German scholar of Hispanic literatures and cultures: Lorca’s role in the cultural archeology of Spanish homosexuality is quite different from that of Wilde, Gide, Proust, or Thomas Mann in their respective countries. That France (and not the Anglo-American world) was the “constant source of inspiration and guidance,” as Calvo confirms, corresponds to my own experience (as an early reader of Guy Hocquenghem and an occasional ← 2 | 3 → visitor of the Sunday tea dance at Arcadie in Rue du Château d’eau in Paris in the 1970s).
Calvo wonders “why a sexual movement did think so little about sex,” and calls this generation “boring” (here my own experience differs from his analysis). Again, he notes that Spain was rather late (in comparison to Western democracies) due to the stigmatization of gays and lesbians under Franco, and he expounds the controversies between extreme-leftist organisations and bourgeois ones, and between “queens” and masculine gays. All this contributes to a complex archive of gay life and its accelerated development in the last decades of the twentieth century (which can be completed by Gracia Trujillo’s description of the lesbian movement in her contribution to this book).
Thinking back to those years, I feel Calvo is right. It took quite a long time until the Spanish academia opened itself to LGT issues. The first books in this field were Spanish translations from French (Hocquenghem, whose Homosexualidad y sociedad represiva was published in Argentina as early as 1974) or from English (such as Steiner and Boyers). I perfectly remember the initial craven steps of what we used to proudly call Gay and Lesbian Studies within Spanish academia, and when María Ángeles Toda with her colleagues of the University of Seville published a special pink issue of Stylistica. Revista Internacional de Estudios Estilísticos y Culturales on homosexual culture in 1995 and 1996 (a time when, according to Gracia Trujillo, the Sociology Departments were the only institutions at the Spanish universities to admit gender relevant questions). Four years before, Óscar Guasch had presented his socio-anthropological text La sociedad rosa with a large second chapter dedicated to the rudimental homosexual life during the decades of the Dictatorship and to introducing the difference between a “pre-gay model” and post-Franco present with an emerging gay infrastructure. As for my research field, cultural and literary studies, the first surveys came from abroad: Paul J. Smith’s Laws of Desire (1992), Emilie L. Bergmann’s and Paul J. Smith’s ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings (1995), Alfredo Martínez-Expósito’s Los escribas furiosos, published in the U.S. (1998), or Hispanisms and Homosexualities, by Sylvia Molloy and Robert McKee Irwin (1998), to mention only a few groundbreaking studies.
Guasch’s essay in this volume (“Bodily, Gender, and Identity Projects in Spain: From the Transvestite to the Transsexual,” co-authored by Jordi Mas) recalls the origin of the “new” gay movement in transvestite culture according to the model of the loca latina prevailing in the mid 1970s—and ← 3 | 4 → not only in Spain, but also in large parts of the Americas–as we can learn from Puig and Donoso as well as the rebellious “queens” of Christopher Street. Guasch defines the transvestite for the Spanish context as a liminal being that “personifies the social reality of the period,” whereas the transsexual “presents a body integrated into the standard codes of gender classification.” Guasch and Mas consider transsexualization as a late modern process of a rationalization of certain modern forms of gender dissidence, which they relate to the homophobic and transphobic Francoist society. Under this perspective, Spain, where “trans” phenomena were a prominent film subject in the 1970s and 1980s, becomes a special case of Western ethnocentrism, and the authors complain about the erroneous inclusion of transvestites among the categories of homosexualities in early research on this subject.
The state of LGT studies has improved considerably over the last years in Spain, thanks to the work of researchers such as Fernando Villaamil, Fernando Olmeda, Jordi Petit, Javier Ugarte, or others, included in this volume, like Alberto Mira, Juan Vicente Aliaga, Rafael M. Mérida-Jiménez, and Óscar Guasch. All of them have essentially contributed to the debate, and I could add some “non-Hispanic” specialists such as Brad Epps, Christopher Perriam, or Paul J. Smith. Gay men’s history up to the mid-twentieth century has been explored by Richard Cleminson and Francisco Vázquez (2007). The field of masculinity studies sensu stricto was opened by Nuevas masculinidades, published by Marta Segarra and Àngels Carabí (2000), and Debating Masculinity (2009), edited by Josep M. Armengol and Carabí (2009), reaching the current debate with Armengol’s Queering Iberia (2012). Yet there is still much research to be done, and these interdisciplinary essays respond to some of the fundamental questions at stake. Spain has remained “different,” as the old Francoist slogan suggested, for a long period even after the death of the Caudillo, for three reasons: the long Dictatorship with its repressive politics in all gender questions, the ongoing influence of the Catholic Church and its fundamentalist male representatives, who are yet to give up either their controversial views against female self-determination or against queer people’s civil rights, and finally the widespread machismo in parts of the population.
The title of this volume, Hispanic (LGT) Masculinities in Transition, requires a double comment. First, the term “Hispanic” could refer, as it so often has, to both Latin American and Peninsular phenomena. This was the case in many publications on gay or queer culture, from Smith’s and ← 4 | 5 → Bergman’s ¿Entiendes? to the books of David D. Foster and Roberto Reis (1996) or Susanna Chávez-Silberman and Librada Hernández (2000). Although still nowadays some studies cover geographically and socially these two distinct regions (the last book I know in this respect is Deseos, juegos, camuflaje. Los estudios de género y queer y las literaturas hispánicas de la Edad Media a la Ilustración, edited by Tobias Brandenberger and Henriette Partzsch in 2011), Latin American studies took a different road, advanced faster (under the influence of Anglophone postmodern and postcolonial theory), and produced a large number of academic debates on masculinities (Valdés and Olavarría; Helfrich; Guttman; Hernández; Ströbele and Wollrad). This has been the case especially since the foundation of the Organización Multidisciplinaria Latinoamericana de Estudios de Masculinidades (OMLEM, “Interdisciplinary Organisation for Masculinity Studies”), which publishes the review Masculinidad(es), and of interdisciplinary networks (such as the Red Iberoamericana y Africana de Masculinidades [RIAM, “Iberoamerican and African Network for Masculinities”] headed by the Cuban historian Julio César González Pagés). To these, one must add many fundamental studies of Latin American gay or queer literature and culture (Balderston and Guy; Melhuus and Stølen; Foster and Reis; Balderston; Foster; Ingenschay; Millington; Kulawik; Peluffo and Sánchez Prado). The authors of the present book are in fact Hispanic, as they come from different Spanish, Latin American, and European cultural and academic contexts, yet the subject in question is (almost exclusively) the Spanish peninsula and its special situation under post-dictatorial conditions. There are only two exceptions which are not really exceptions, as Elena Madrigal includes one Mexican novel among her corpus of novels with lesbian protagonists, and Jorge Luis Peralta writes about two Argentinean activists, even if he focuses on their Spanish exile.
The second part of the title requiring explanation is the notion of transition, which apparently refers to the political transición—the period between Franco’s death and the (however problematic) consolidation of the young democracy in the 1980s; a highly contested period in today’s discussions (below I shall comment on a second meaning of masculinity in Transition). Some Spanish intellectuals emphasized the enormous success of the Spanish society in its progress towards democracy at the end of the twentieth century, and some of the authors of these collected essays take this position, for example Rafael M. Mérida-Jiménez (“From Stage to Screen: Flor de Otoño’s Transitional Impersonations”), when he characterizes the ← 5 | 6 → Transition as a “fortunate political transition process […] that led to a system of civic freedoms.” At the same time, he points to the “lights and the shadows that bring this political transition.” In fact, one cannot deny that the exemplarity of the democratic transition was rather a quite relative one, that the undeniable achievements are outweighed by a significant lack of historical responsibility (called amnesia by critics such as Joan Ramon Resina  or Teresa Vilarós ), and the exclusive bet on a neoliberal and still quite centralist system. It is a fact that Spanish society had to wait more than thirty years for a Ley de memoria histórica (“Historical Memory Law”) to ban—still cautiously—fascist and dictatorial symbols from the public sphere in 2007. Still, many questions remain open—the destiny of Franco’s monumental Mausoleum in the Valle de los Caídos is only one of them. On the other hand, as far as homosexuality (as one possible manifestation of queerness) is concerned, Spain has meanwhile taken the role of a forerunner in the Western world. No other country in the world saw within half a century a similar revolutionary change from social and political prosecution, exacerbated by the above mentioned Law of Social Dangerousness and Social Rehabilitation in 1970, to the full civil rights of same-sex marriage and adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples granted by the Law 13/2005. Thus, the focus of these essays on the development of civil rights for LGT (respectively LBGTI) people is hardly surprising.
I have promised to comment shortly on a second aspect implied in the key notion of transition. Masculinities in Transition may not only allude historically to the early post-Franco years, but in a systematic perspective to the fact that socially constructed notions of gender are always “in transition,” “on the move,” and never static. Stable masculinity is fictional, as Tod Reeser has pointed out in Masculinities in Theory (2010), and masculinity in itself is “hybrid” rather than uniform.
Elena Madrigal-Rodríguez (“Undressing Masculinity: Male Dress and Accoutrements in Four Female Spanish Characters”) recurs to Reeser’s “hybrid” masculinity, and in particular to Judith Halberstam’s notion of “female masculinity,” when she analyzes four Hispanic novels with lesbian characters, among them the successful Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes by Lucía Etxebarria and one Mexican text, Susana Guzner’s La insensata geometría. Referring to Julia Kristeva, Elena Madrigal-Rodríguez states that without a phallic affirmation, these characters would not have been able to express their singularity. ← 6 | 7 →
I briefly mentioned Rafael M. Mérida-Jiménez’s comment on the ambiguity of the transición; he illustrates this referring to the significant changes that occurred during the decade of the 1970s with a rich variety of “trans”-masculine/feminine forms (and a focus on sex reassignment surgeries), as thematized in Spanish films such as El transexual (1977) by José Lara or Cambio de sexo (1977) by Vicente Aranda (which features Bibí Andersen and Victoria Abril before they became Almodóvar stars). His main point of interest is a comparison between José María Rodríguez Méndez’s conservative and homophobic play Flor de Otoño: Una historia del Barrio Chino, written in the late Franco era, and the festive filmic version by Pedro Olea, Un hombre llamado Flor de Otoño (1978). The protagonist is a young lawyer who starts acting in a transvestite performance of a seedy bar in Barcelona’s red-light district. The comparison between both versions gives evidence to the transformations of the discourse on sexual otherness in the 1970s and shows the central importance of “trans”-phenomena in Spanish cinema and society.
The role of film as a seismographic medium for social change also interests other authors in this volume. Alberto Mira, a well-known specialist in the cultural history of homosexuality in Spain in general and in Hispanic film in particular, writes about what he calls the “queer pastoral” (“Queer Pastoral: Rural Homoeroticism on Film during the Early Years of the Spanish Transition”). Mainly focusing on movie productions of the period between 1977 and 1982, his observation on Gonzalo Suárez’s Parranda, on Ventura Pons’s “queer sainete” El vicari d’Olot, or Ocaña. Retrato intermitente refutes the simple equation of Francoist culture as rural and republican or post-Francoist as metropolitan, as films like Pedro Lazaga’s La ciudad no es para mí (1966) had suggested.
There is another new and important contribution to the study of the cinema of the Spanish Transition in Alberto Martínez-Expósito’s article on the legendary director Eloy de la Iglesia (“Embodiments of Class and Nation in Eloy de la Iglesia’s Gay Films”), in which he focuses on Los novios búlgaros (2003), the director’s special version of Eduardo Mendicutti’s witty novel in which he reacts to the fall of the iron curtain and the arrival of young immigrants from Eastern Europe. This document of the “post-materialist society” of the Aznar years, in which Madrid converted itself to a gay Mecca, differs from de la Iglesia’s preceeding “gay” movies such as Los placeres ocultos (1977) or El diputado (1978), showing the cultural axioms ← 7 | 8 → of the transición. Martínez-Expósito characterizes de la Iglesia as a Marxist and anti-academicist director with auteur awareness.
From movie to theatre: Richard Cleminson and Carlos Pons (“Female Masculinity on Stage: Young Man! and the Subversion of Gender Roles”) present the Catalan DeNada Dance Theatre which moved to the UK in 2005 and describe in detail the ways in which this group succeeds in queering ballet. One of these is the (re)production of camp images of Spanishness that play with the Almodovarian legacy, with jamón, sangría, and toros on one hand, and are, on the other hand, bound in a dense intertextuality to elements known from Lorca and many others, namely death and machismo. They do not only examine gender stereotypes, but also their more subtle secret codes, and they propose a dialogue on gender perceptions to the audience.
I am happy to see that, among the essays in the present volume, one takes a comparative perspective on the years of the transición in Spain and the situation in Argentina, where the process of overcoming the dark era of military dictatorship has culminated paradigmatically in full civil rights for LGT and queer persons. Jorge Luis Peralta (“Machos or divinas? A Quandary in Argentinean and Spanish Gay Activism”) investigates the discussion of masculinity in political life and literary production of two gay activists, Héctor Anabitarte Rivas and Ricardo Lorenzo Sanz, who left Argentina for Spain when the generals took over. The issues that arise from the representation of homosexuality in Manuel Puig’s El beso de la mujer araña—the stereotypes of the effeminate homosexual and the politically conscious heterosexual revolutionary—reappear in the discussions about “sexual roles” in their key texts (published in the late 1970s and early 1980s). They show that their positions on “masculinity” and “femininity” changed over the years, in accordance with the tensions and contradictions that the emerging Argentinean and Spanish gay communities were experiencing. In almost all collective volumes on queer and gender issues, the reader is left to lament the rather modest contributions on lesbian perspectives. In her theoretically well-grounded article (“Butches Excluded: Female Masculinities and Their [non] Representations in Spain”), Gracia Trujillo argues (with J. Halberstam) that the notion of “female masculinity,” which makes of “masculinity” an “umbrella term,” may be more useful than “lesbian” for researchers doing intercultural comparisons of queer communities. When looking back on the part lesbian life played in the years of the transición, she situates herself among the great variety of feminist debates of the early 1990s, when Monique Wittig postulated that lesbians are ← 8 | 9 → not women (as she considered “woman” a political category). Her suggestive application of the (Anglophone) theoretical discourse of “radical” feminism (quoting Gayle Rubin and Biddy Martin, Teresa de Lauretis and Judith Butler, and many others) to the specific conditions of the Spanish “fores” (forums) of the 1990s and to the spontaneous actions of lesbian groups such as LSD (with rapidly changing contents to that abbreviation) in Madrid shows the lack of a sexual language from which Spanish queer discourse suffered particularly at the time, when “masculine” lesbians were the target of social and political hostility. Whereas (male) gays considered the derogation of the Law of Social Dangerousness and Social Rehabilitation (in 1979) a political victory which allowed them a more visible socialization and an active part in the growing gay leisure industry, lesbians—even the relatively visible “butch” persons—felt they had to go on with their fight for a proper representation and against homo and lesbophobia.
I hope the reader will take the same delight as I did when reading these essays. Historically, these are articles on the transición, reveal that lesbian, gay, and transgender theory and practice have contributed in essential ways to the positive results of this process, even if they could not avoid nor even diminish its negative side-effects, its neoliberalism, historical amnesia, and economic crisis. While this temporal framework provides the collection with a strong inner coherence, the variety of theoretical aspects and the abundance of interesting empirical material change from one essay to the next. This works to engage the reader to participate in all the details of this archive, of this retrospective that looks back on a decisive span of recent Spanish history with its transnational and transcultural coordinates.
- VIII, 192
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- Publication date
- 2014 (August)
- dictatorship freedom criminalization new democracy artistic production
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 202 pp.