Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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Since the late twentieth century, Buenos Aires has been widely publicized outside Argentina as a “gay-friendly” destination. This period has also seen increasing immigration to the city from other parts of South America, especially neighboring countries and others with sizeable indigenous populations. An ongoing popular national narrative highlights hyper-masculinity as a preeminently Argentine characteristic. Distinct discourses characterizing Argentina as racially white-majority and anti-foreign and anti-indigenous, overinvested in machismo, and at the same time welcoming to nonheterosexual foreigners seem, on the surface, to be at odds. In this essay I explore intersections among race, gender, sexuality, and foreign origin as cross-cutting planes of discourse, which are all subsumed within and constitutive of the Argentine national imaginary. While these distinct domains of reference can isolate and contain different sectors of Argentine society, I argue that it is the overlapping, simultaneous application of raced-sex terms that necessarily denies masculine superiority to others and promotes it among Argentine men. Ultimately, therefore, a “permissive” atmosphere cannot challenge heteronormativity. I consider the ways that racial and sexual epithets (including and “fag,” “Bolivian + Paraguayan alien” or “Indian,” and , literally “Brazilian” but code for “Afro-heritage/black”) are differently used in conversational settings and media reports about sports teams and sporting events, especially soccer, as well as during those events.


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