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Was Sex Inflexible? A Queer History of Gender Transgressions in Early Twentieth Century Argentina

Dr Patricio Simonetto (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Institute of the Americas, University College London) will give a presentation titled: “Was Sex Inflexible? A Queer History of Gender Transgressions in Early Twentieth Century Argentina.”

In the early twentieth century, Argentine physicians, policymakers and journalists expressed their concern about new queer characters that took the public scene of the growing urban landscapes. They were usually named Mujeres-hombres, machonas or invertidos sexuales for breaking gender rules and challenging what physicians defined as sex. While the local elites understood them as enemies of their national modernisation project, these people also became famous characters of postcards, theatre productions and tabloid magazines. A popularity led to a prohibition of dressing in clothes of the « opposite sex » in public spaces in 1933. This presentation will explore the social and cultural history of transgressive gender embodiments during the early twentieth century. The lecture will explore the practices and discourses of those who « changed their sex » before the popularisation of biotechnological treatments. The presentation argues that gender transgressions offer a crucial insight into the meaning of sex and its role in the context of national modernisation projects. By decentring the attention away from homosexuality and considering both male and female sex change, the lecture emphasises the body’s centrality in the affirmation of gender beyond identities.

You are all very much welcome in in room KS. 203 (Het Brantijser, Sint-Jacobsmarkt 13), 16:00-17:30.

This lecture is organised at the University of Antwerp by Marjolein Van Bavel (PoHis-UAntwerp), Magaly Rodriguez (KU Leuven) and A* Antwerp Gender and Sexuality Studies Network.

Click here for free registration.