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.
This special volume of CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies titled Revisiting Queer Puerto Rican Sexualities/Revisitando las sexualidades puertorriqueñas queer, edited by Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes and Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, aims to explore queer Puerto Rican literature, culture, politics, and scholarship on the island and in the diaspora. Building on the first CENTRO Journal on this subject in 2007, this journal includes articles about gay literature and culture, women writers, activist histories and presents, and more.
“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.