gay culture

gay culture
   While in many western countries the emergence of lesbian and gay cultures in the 1970s was quickly linked to a reclamation of homosexual social and cultural histories which were relatively easy to unearth, the Spanish situation—at least until the symbolic moments of 1978 (the new constitution) and 1979 (the general election) -has meant that a tradition of lives lived beyond heterosexuality is only slowly becoming visible, and in a fragmentary way. On the other hand, as much gay writing in Spain suggests, a plurality of queer cultures now exists and is rapidly proliferating across the regions and languages of the Spanish state. In the broadest terms, and from an Anglo-Saxon perspective, it is now possible to be in any major centre for a night or two and identify distinctive manifestations of "lesbian" and "gay" culture in two familiar areas, that of issuebased politics and that of recreation.
   The first Gay Pride March in Spain was held in June 1977 in Barcelona, when some 4,000 took to the streets, a figure since then only rarely matched. A lesbian and gay politics concerned with rights and single issues has remained predominant, with recent campaigning focusing on homophobic attacks by ultra-right skinheads, rights of tenure and inheritance for cohabiting same-sex couples, parenting, and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (finally outlawed in the Penal Code of December 1995). If this seems to correspond to the Anglo-Saxon model of gay and lesbian politics, the many radical and theoretically sophisticated publications in circulation (certainly more of their type than in the United Kingdom) and the groupings behind them suggest a considerable overlap with queer politics and culture too. In Madrid De Un Plumazo (At a Stroke of the Pen), Nosotras (Us), InformaLES (Outsiders) and Non grata (Not Wanted), in Valencia the wide-circulation El Paper Gai (The Gay Paper) and in Bilbao Gay Hotsa all theorize sex, the body, culture, and political engagement from what look like queer perspectives. The terminolo-gies of "gay" and "queer" are, however, significantly problematic. Guasch (1991) prefers the widely used entender (literally "to understand" or "to be in the know") for men who have sex with men to the imported and culturally inappropriate "gay model" (43–6 and 159–65). Cultural difference notwithstanding, lesbiana and lésbico/a do signify a clear set of political and cultural practices in Spain, although it is something of a commonplace for these to be ignored or overlooked. For instance, while the May/ June 1995 issue of the now practically mainstream lesbian and gay bi-monthly ¿Entiendes? (Are You in the Know?) in Madrid asked "Where Are All the Lesbians in This Country?", at the same time Marta Balletbò"s lesbian-themed film comedy Costa Brava had become a hit in Catalonia and Lambda—the Catalan equivalent of ¿Entiendes? —was able to discuss with the director the film's successful if lighthearted "normalization" of lesbian issues. In the social spaces of the extremely numerous gay cafés, bars and clubs of the major cities, music plays a key role in the construction of nonheterosexually identified cultures. In the clubs the sounds are predominantly those of the New York, Manchester and London scenes and the out-of-town club cultures of France and Italy. Scandinavian and German tastes are added in at the gay super-resorts at Playa de Inglés, Ibiza and Sitges. Beyond the clubs there is a distinctly homosexual resonance to the copla, the bolero, and latin beat for some, and for others the camper forms of flamenco rock make an obvious transgressive point. Among those who have cult status are Catalan singer-songwriter Lluís Llach who came out in the 1970s with "Cançó d'amor" ("Love Song") and settings of Cavafy, and Paco Clavel who performs camp renditions of hits of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1975 Eduardo Haro Ibars" Gay Rock had responded to a glamorously transgressive strain in musical and performance culture which, along with punk makes its appearance in scenes in Almodóvar's early movies and feeds into the Movida (whose gayness is easy to chart, for example, in the art work of the two-man Costus partnership). Super-icon Alaska carried the torch of transgressive tradition in the 1980s, and Javier Gurruchaga with the Orquesta Mondragón, along with Miguel Bosé, were points of reference for men. For women in the 1990s Marina Rossell, with her looks and her settings of poems by lesbian poet Maria Mercè Marçal, has a considerable following, one of Spain's biggest bands, Mecano, has brought out the lesbianthemed "Mujer contra mujer", and the Catalan band Els Pets has had a minor hit with "S'ha acabat" ("It's Over Now") on a gay love affair. In cinema the Filmotecas of Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona (which has also hosted lesbian and gay theatre seasons) give prominence to films by or for lesbians and gay men, and commercially released Spanish queer cinema is beginning to make an appearance in the late 1990s. Established stars are serving to keep the non-straight on screen (in the tradition of films by Jaime Chávarri, Eloy de La Iglesia, Pedro Olea, and Almodóvar) with Jorge Sanz convincingly playing a rent-boy in Hotel y domicilio (In Calls or Out) and Javier Bardem pretending to be hot for men as a telephone sexline worker who gets embroiled in a complex murder plot in Boca a boca (Mouth to Mouth). Super-star Victoria Abril's role in the French production Le Gazon maudit (French Twist) (1995) brings issues concerning the representation of lesbianism to the top of new cultural agendas.
   Further reading
   - Alas, L. (1994) De la acera de enfrente. Todo to que se debe saber de los gays y nadie se ha atrevido a contar, Madrid: El Papagayo.
   - Bergmann, E.L. and Smith, P.J. (1995) "Introduction" in Bergmann and Smith (eds) ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings, Durham and London: Duke University Press.
   - Guasch O. (1991) La sociedad rosa, Barcelona: Anagrama.
   - Smith P.J. (1992) Laws of Desire. Questions of Homosexuality in Spanish Writing and Film 19601990, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
   CHRIS PERRIAM

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gay culture in Russia — Although life in modern Russian allows many more liberties for gays and lesbians, unofficial discrimination and fear are still rampant. It would be foolish to interpret some new freedoms as tolerance, said Igor Kon, a sociologist who is Russia s… …   Wikipedia

  • Bear (gay culture) — Bear is a LGBT slang term that refers to members of a subculture in the homosexual and bisexual male communities and to an emerging subset of LGBT communities with events, codes, and a culture specific identity. It can also be used more… …   Wikipedia

  • Daddy (gay culture) — A Daddy in gay culture is a slang term meaning an older man sexually involved in a relationship or having a sexual interest in a younger man. The age gap may differ, but the relationship involves the traditional parental hierarchy of father son… …   Wikipedia

  • Chub (gay culture) — Chub riding a motorbike A chub is an overweight or obese gay man who identifies as being part of the related chubby culture. Although there is some overlap between chubs and bears, chubs have their own distinct subculture and community. There are …   Wikipedia

  • gay writing —    Gay and lesbian writing in Spain has many histories and displays a complex variety of identifications and non identifications with the notions of homosexual culture, community, politics and sensibilities.    As elsewhere in Europe, pre 1960s… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • Gay Left — was a collective of gay men who produced a journal of the same name published every six months in London, England between the years 1975 and 1980. It was the aftermath of the evaporation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Marxist Group …   Wikipedia

  • Gay Life — is a weekly newspaper about gay culture published by the Gay Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore. It is distributed in Baltimore, Maryland and throughout the Mid Atlantic region. External links* [http://www.baltimoregaylife.com/ Gay Life… …   Wikipedia

  • Culture of Manchester — A busker in St Ann s Square The Culture of Manchester is notable artistically,[1] architecturally,[2][3] theatrically and to some extent musically …   Wikipedia

  • Gay Film Nights — Infobox Recurring event caption = date = September October annually location = Cluj Napoca, Romania first = 2004 last = 15 21 October, 2007Gay Film Nights ( Serile Filmului Gay in Romanian) is an LGBT film festival organised annually in Cluj… …   Wikipedia

  • Gay bar — For the song by Electric Six, see Gay Bar (song). The historic Stonewall Inn in New York City was the site of the famous Stonewall riots of 1969, which have come to symbolize the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement in the United… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”