“Si Nicaragua Venció”: Lesbian and Gay Solidarity with the Revolution
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/T842015749
This article analyzes the radical imagination of lesbian and gay activism in solidarity with the Nicaraguan Revolution. It examines the reasons US lesbian and gay radicals supported that revolution and investigates the ways that homoerotic, especially lesbian, desire shaped their solidarity. Drawing on Herbert Marcuse and Michel Foucault, the article argues that lesbian and gay radicals viewed the Nicaraguan Revolution in erotic and heterotopic terms. Posters, fliers, and interviews reveal that US activists, people of color and white, represented the Revolution and solidarity through tropes of female masculinity and women’s affection. Many Nicaraguan lesbians and gay men shared these nonnormative images of socialist change. Yet while Nicaraguans claimed Sandinismo as their own, for US activists revolution remained a distant object of desire and solidarity a “seduction,” “crush,” or embrace. United States activists who embraced developmentalist views of Latin American sexualities remained unable to witness lesbian and gay life inside Nicaragua, while lesbian and gay Sandinistas kept silent about FSLN homophobia so as not to undermine solidarity against the Contra war. Desire served as a powerful tool for mobilizing transnational solidarity. By failing to examine desire critically, however, US activists limited their communications with Nicaraguan lesbians and gay men and weakened the relationship they sought with revolution itself.