LGBTQ Activism and Performance
Synopsis: Bad Bunny has been praised for his support of LGBTQ rights and his fluid gender presentation. Others have critiqued him for “queerbaiting” and profiting off of queer culture without identifying as queer himself. Regardless, in the context of Puerto Rico where LGBTQ+ communities continue to face significant institutional discrimination, rampant homophobia and transphobia, and physical violence, Bad Bunny’s gender presentation makes a critical social impact.
In his book Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes analyzes the social and political contexts and implications of Puerto Rican drag and transgender performance in theater, television, and other forms of cultural production in both Puerto Rico and the United States. La Fountain-Stokes proposes “translocura” as an epistemology that contends with both the new social modalities and the reality of violence and death facing many queer and trans people in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
“Getting F****d in Puerto Rico: Metaphoric Provocations and Queer Activist Interventions” tells the story of the efforts to repeal the sodomy laws in Puerto Rico that were in place from 1974 until 2003. Juana María Rodríguez outlines the activism and legal paths taken to repeal Artículo 103, and the tension surrounding the Puerto Rican government’s attempts to reinforce sodomy laws in the context of US Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which ruled that sodomy laws were unconstitutional. She also addresses the contradictions embedded in Puerto Rico’s sodomy laws, which the island stood by even while attempting to court LGBTQ tourists from the US.
In this piece, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes surveys key developments in queer Puerto Rican history. He incorporates discussion of several key issues including legal issues, politics, education, violence, and more as well as a timeline of key events spanning from 2002 to 2018.
Popular Media Readings:
André Wheeler, "Bad Bunny: Does a Straight Man Deserve to be Called a Queer Icon?" The Guardian. May 19, 2020.
Jessica Roiz, "What It's Like to be Part of Bad Bunny's Inclusive Dance Team: Meet the Dancers," Billboard, April 12, 2022.
Katelina Eccleston, "Villano Antillano is Making History: 'We Have to be Proud and Stand Tall," Rolling Stone, August 3, 2022.