The collection I – Identity, diversity, dissidence and sexual rights (1936-2011) – builds on Gregorio Selser’s awareness of and interest in the intersection of cultural, political and sexual rights. It consists of three donations, by the Centro de Documentación y Archivo Histórico Lésbico "Nancy Cárdenas" (CDAHL – Centre for the Documentation and the Historical Lesbian Archive Nancy Cárdenas), and of the organisations CIDHOM and CRISSOL, both linked to the Colectivo Sol (Sun Collective). The collection brings together archival material collected by organisations that have been, and still are, crucial to the struggle for LGBT rights in Mexico, and to the deep cultural transformations that embed these rights within an everyday context. The collection is an invaluable resource for anyone researching the LGBT movement and the struggle for sexual and reproductive rights in Mexico. It contains a wealth of documentation on all aspects of the feminist movement, LGBT struggles and organistaions, and on sexual rights in Mexico specifically, and in some cases on and Latin America, between 1936 to 2011. Some of these documents are historical in nature; others are interventions in a specific historical moment. While the collection focuses on LGBT and women’s rights, it also contains materials on other vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and the disabled. Culture and the arts receive considerable attention. The collection of newspaper clippings and reviews on cinema, for one, would be especially of interest to those who wish to study the reception of international films on HIV/AIDS in Mexico.
The collection shows the mindset and the practice of an outward-looking community and contains elements of the cultural translation of the debates and inspirations that feminist groups and the LGBT movement has received from elsehwere in the world, into a Mexican context. Through its composition it also brings to light some aspects of the gender politics within the LGBT movement, for example that initially gay men were particularly outspoken and well organized in the struggle for gay rights, while feminist organisations consistently expanded their focus from reproductive rights and women’s right, to now include LGBT rights and the rights of vulnerable populations more broadly.
Of interest is the extensive documentation around the far-right and conservative opposition to the International Congress of the Gay and Lesbian Association, which was finally celebrated in 1991 in Guadalajara. The collection contains copies of expressions of a strong rejection among conservative and religious groups in particular but also, of society and local groupings (which, in some declarations, preserve a suggestive degree of vagueness on who they are) more widely. The documentation permits to trace how, due to the persistence of the organizers and the support of some government institutions and NGOs, the event did finally take place. The program, written in English, is an interesting testimony of how the Mexican LGBT community presented themselves and their cultural and political context at the time to their international peers who were about to join them for the congress from abroad. This set of documents on its own would make for an interesting piece of research and provides a snapshot of the situation at the time.
The research on which this post is based was funded by The Leverhulme Trust Fellowship on ‘Acquiescent Imaginaries: Snapshots from the Cultures of Low-Intensity Democracy ’.
Cornelia Gräbner would like to thank the staff at the CAMeNA for their generous collaboration and support.
Reposted from https://poeticsofresistance.wordpress.com/.