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O Que Não Dá Chupa: The Male-to-Female ‘Homosexual’ As Star of Brazil’s Economic Boom

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Abstract

Two of Brazil’s most re-occurring platitudes about itself are that Brazil is the country of the future, and that God is Brazilian. It would be of little surprise, then, that both fantasies -- one of divine kinship, the other of deferred salvation -- would merge so symbiotically when Brazil’s fetishized potential seems to finally find opportunities for materialization. Today, after all, Brazil is able to make previously unimaginable claims about how close it is to that utopian dictum stitched across its flag, and until recently, a perverse reminder of the gap between the fantasy of the State and the state of the State: “Order and Progress.” The thread used as raw material to keep the dream of the nation alive, in Brazil and elsewhere, has been, of course, the figure of the homosexual. Weaving heterosexuality away as negative homosexuality through painstaking quotidian iteration, theviado, or faggot, has served as yardstick for the construction of the normative Brazilian citizen as much as the concept of woman has functioned as necessary launching pad for the construction of the always already male Subject. If “the woman does not exist,” as Lacan reminds us, does the homosexual? Brazil’s recent bout with socio-economical “progress” seems to suggest that its Homosexual didn’t exist, as long as we predicate existence with public visibility. Yet this presence-absenceconditionof the Brazilian homosexual -- the sameviadowho guarantees the legitimacy of the heterosexist State through his constant annihilation and disavowal – takes center stage as that country experiences what it once could only imagine: 20 million people pulled out of poverty in the Lula years (2002-2010); the election of its first female (and rumored lesbian) president, Dilma Rousseff, in 2010); winning the rights to host the Olympics in 2016 and FIFA’s World Cup in 2014; the occupation of the Rio de Janeiro favelas by the police and the Army in 2010; and the ruling by the Brazilian Supreme court that same-sex couples are legally entitled to civil unions in 2011.

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