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This presentation will explore the social and cultural history of transgressive gender embodiments during the early twentieth century. The lecture will explore the practices and discourses of those who allegedly "changed their sex" before the popularisation of biotechnological treatments. The presentation argues that gender transgressions offer a crucial insight into the meaning of sex and its role in the context of national modernisation projects. By shifting attention away from homosexuality and considering both male and female sex change, the chapters emphasise the body's centrality in affirming gender beyond identities.

Event details of Inverting Sex: A History of Gender Transgressions in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina
Date 25 November 2022
Time 15:30 -17:00
Location Roeterseilandcampus - building A
Room A1.07

Early in the twentieth century, Argentine physicians, policymakers, and journalists expressed concern over gender-nonconforming characters that dominated the urban landscape. They were usually called Mujeres-hombres, machonas or invertidos sexuales for breaking gender rules and challenging what physicians defined as sex. While the local elites understood them as enemies of their national modernisation project, these people also became famous characters in postcards, theatre productions and tabloid magazines. As a reaction to this phenomenon, since 1933, dressing in clothes of the "opposite sex" is forbidden in public spaces.

Those with a strong interest in the history of sexuality are encouraged to apply to the complementary workshop to this lecture, “New Frontiers in the History of Sexuality,” which will take place on Tuesday 24 November between 13:00-17:30. Learn how to apply to the workshop.

About the Speaker

Patricio Simonetto is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University College London. He is the author of Entre la injuria y la revolución. El Frente de Liberación Homosexual en la Argentina (UNQ, 2017), El dinero no es todo. La compra y venta de sexo en la Argentina del siglo XX (Biblos, 2019) and Money is Not Everything. The Purchase and Sale of Sex in Argentina in the Twentieth Century (The Univesity of North Carolina, 2023). He was awarded with the Carlos Monsivais Prize from the Latin American Studies Association. He is currently working on his book project entitled A Body of One’s Own. A Trans* History of Argentina (1900-2012) [The University of Texas Press].


No registration required


Roeterseilandcampus - building A

Room A1.07

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam