Edited By Rafael M. Mérida-Jiménez
More specifically, Hispanic (LGT) Masculinities in Transition will interlink the fields of political and historical change and artistic production in order to assess whether cultural representations can be understood as mere reflections of social and political change. In terms of the materials being examined, these are, in the first instance, literary, although other narratives are also addressed (filmic production and plastic arts). This volume is essential reading for professors and students of contemporary Spanish history and culture, as well as for those interested in lesbian, gay, transgender, and masculinity issues.
3—Bodily, Gender, and Identity Projects in Spain: From the Transvestite to the Transsexual
During the 1970s and 1980s a rapid process of political and institutional change took place in Spain (referred to as the Transition),1 taking the country from a dying dictatorship toward a consolidated democracy (although certainly with room for improvement, socially and institutionally).2 In this historical period, a range of social transformations, which had been initiated in the 1960s thanks to the gradual economic and cultural opening of Spain toward Europe, took root. From the very dark image of Spain portrayed in 1951 by Eugene Smith for Life magazine, there was a transition to a colorful, stereotypical Spain of beaches full of half-naked tourists eating paella. Some of these changes can be seen in the destape (“The Revealing”): a social trend in Spanish cinema that expressed the new social perceptions of the body through nudity (Ponce). After Franco’s death, the Spain of the 1980s finally breathed the air of political freedom and began to understand the meaning of sexual freedom. In this context of rapid social and cultural transformation, ideas about gender and sexuality also underwent important changes.
This chapter reviews the socio-historical construction of the figure of the transvestite in Spain as a category to theorize and refer to transgenderism. It also explores its subsequent conversion into the figure of the transsexual. The shift from the transvestite to the transsexual was a historical process that took place in the medium-term and that established the hegemony of the medical category of the transsexual to refer to transgender...
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