Relations between homosexuals and militants were not easy in the 1960s and 1970s, when the revolution was just around the corner. Added to the raids, persecutions, punishments and police rapes, in addition to the condition of “sick” that homosexuals had for the American Psychiatric Association, local left, following the line marked by the communist parties of the USSR and Cuba, he sang “we are not fucking, we are not phallus”, leaving the homosexuals of the left out of the space in which they aspired to participate: the political struggle.

Taking its title from a manifesto that the Homosexual Liberation Front produced in 1973, in Sex and revolution (which can be seen today and subsequent days; see below) the documentary maker Ernesto Ardito (Raymundo, Nation, Symphony for Ana) reviews this historical disagreement, narrating the political struggle of homosexual militants, from the 1960s to now. It does so with the voices of protagonists of that struggle, such as the cultural critic Daniel Molina, the union leader Guillermo García, the AMMAR Human Rights secretary, Valeria del Mar Ramírez, the plastic artist Jorge Luis Giacosa and the contributor to the supplement. Soy, Alejandro Modarelli. “The FLH argued that there is no real revolution if there is no profound moral and cultural change in society, that ends with the hegemony of the patriarchy ”, says Ardito in the interview that follows. “They were way ahead of their time.”

-The film takes its title from a manifesto that the Homosexual Liberation Front (FLH) made public in 1973. Does this manifesto mark a cut-off point in the history of homosexuality in Argentina?

-The manifesto “Sex and Revolution” is not a cut-off point, because it did not have a massive arrival in 1973. It was far ahead of its time and therefore, seen from today, the courage and clarity of the members of the FLH is moving. to light that fuse in the extremely macho and repressive context that surrounded them. They proposed a political transformation from the private point of view when sexuality was a taboo, also within the left itself. “Sex and revolution” marked the theoretical foundations for a change that is going to take place progressively, thanks to the militancy of the Argentine Homosexual Community (CHA), which continued the FLH project. The objective of the FLH when joining the political struggles of the 1970s was visibility. They organized to get out of the catacombs, legitimizing themselves as social actors, as the Homosexual Liberation Front, because in this way they could join the collective struggle together with other organizations to achieve in principle the objective of repealing the police edicts, for which they were continuously detained and imprisoned. But they were discriminated and soon came the advance of the right. The rights obtained in this century are a consequence of the organization of the 1970s, of the objectives set by the FLH that sowed the seed that was later collected by the CHA. The FLH proposed that there is no real revolution if there is not a profound moral and cultural change in society, which ends the hegemony of patriarchy. They were way ahead of their time.

– The precedent of the FLH was the group Nuestro Mundo, which included the poet Néstor Perlongher, among others?

-Nuestro Mundo, founded by Héctor Anabitarte, was the first attempt at a homosexual organization in Argentina. They began to meet in 1967. It was made up of delegates and union members from different unions. Anabitarte, at that time, was a leader of the Communist Party who when he came out of the closet and wanted to raise a debate within the PC about sexual liberation, was disenfranchised. Nuestro Mundo joined the founding of the FLH in 1971.

-One of the witnesses provides a very painful recollection of the isolation to which other columns subjected the FLH during the mobilization of June 20, ’73 to Ezeiza.

-The Plaza de Cámpora of May 25, 1973 is the best example of this isolation. The FLH went with a large banner that read “For love and equality to reign in the people.” But an island formed around them, the other protesters were ashamed to be with the FLH and that was a very strong blow. It was the first time in all of Latin America that a homosexual group took part in an open-ended act of political nature, such as the inauguration of a president. The fight consisted of being recognized as political actors. But they were not taken seriously by the “males” of the other organizations. Except in a few cases they made fun of them, they walked away, they laughed when they were appointed in an adhesion. The FLH could not interact politically as such on an equal footing. The spirit of social transformation of the time was not yet ready for them. It was the dominant culture, that Christian morality that got into every corner of the private. And the revolutionary political organizations did not escape that. The internal coexistence manuals, explicitly or tacitly promoted the monogamous heterosexual couple, infidelity was punished and homosexuality, in that logic, was seen as a monstrosity of the bourgeoisie.

-This discrimination within the Argentine left does nothing more than continue the official policies of repression in the USSR and Cuba in relation to sexual diversity, of which Sex and revolution bears witness.

-It’s ideological. The CP saw homosexuality as a bourgeois detour. A degeneration created by the alienation of the capitalist system, which had to be fought. For the FLH it is the opposite, the relationship between oppressor and oppressed is broken with sexual liberation and the patriarchal system. The FLH argued that sexual repression served capitalist exploitation because the libido contained by that repression, the workers released into alienated work and produced more.

-One of the witness goes a step further and points out that the cult of heroism within the militancy was macho and heterosexual.

– I believe that this was a sign of the times in all orders with respect to the conformation of the figure of the hero, not only in the militancy. That has been changing in the last 20 years.

-The definitive awareness on the part of the gay militants that they were segregated by the left was when during one of the marches against the Pinochet coup, in September 73, they came across 200 thousand JP militants singing “We are not Fuckers, we are not phallus, we are FAR and Montoneros soldiers ”.

-That song was a response from the left of Peronism to the right of the same movement. If you are homosexual and 200 thousand people who are in that march with the same objective as yours, to repudiate a coup d’état, they sing that they are not “fucking”, symbolically they leave the fascism free to do whatever it wants with you. For loving a person of the same sex. Emotionally, for every homosexual militant it was a mortal blow. The FLH felt expelled from any possibility of integration. And it fell back, practically forever, because then came the advance of fascism and the Triple A.

-On Sex and revolution There is a very strong denunciation of a practice that I think is not so well known, which is the lobotomization practiced on homosexuals to annul their sensory centers. The neurosurgeon in charge of this practice was Dr. Lyonett, who was Rector of the UBA.

-Julio Lyonnet was in charge of the UBA from the end of December 1974 to August 1975 as “normalizing Rector”, continuing with the repressive policy. The practice of lobotomy to “cure” homosexuality was part of some of the aberrant surgical methods that were used until the middle of the 20th century in many countries for this purpose. It was not only in Argentina. To the lobotomy are added the extraction of the uterus, ovaries, clitoris, castration, vasectomy, electroshocks, hormonal and chemical treatments, cancellation of sexual pleasure, orgasm and of course confinement in asylums which was the most common.

-Was the characterization of homosexuals as sick, which was in force until 1973 in Argentina, was it official?

-Until then, it was the American Psychiatric Association that diagnosed homosexuality as a disease. It was not only the Argentine police, it was science and all over the planet. From there the other social actors were derived and it was very common for even the most progressive sectors to think that homosexuality could be “cured” with psychological or psychiatric treatment.

-Between the 50s and 80s, the persecution of homosexuals was not the product of legal provisions but of police edicts, basically the famous 2nd H.

-The police had a Morality Division to protect public order. The commissioner himself decided if he would let you in or leave you. By means of the 2H edict, homosexuals were arrested for “scandal on public roads.” They took you just because of the way you walked or because you were with another man on a wave lift. They interrogated you, locked you up, beat you, called your family or your work, when most likely you were in the closet. And with several tickets you went to the Devoto jail. This is in the context of mass raids to underground gay bars or clubs. During the Onganía dictatorship, the police, led by Commissioner Margaride, used to enter a temporary shelter, ask for documents and call the relatives of each couple if they were not married. When democracy arrived, the police remained the same as the dictatorship and the 2H edict continued. That is why Carlos Jáuregui forms the Argentine Homosexual Community, fundamentally to repeal the edicts and to be able to live in peace and walk or love freely on public roads. The edicts were only repealed in 1996.

-In 1984, Rabbi Marshall Meyer acknowledged to Jáuregui that the Commission for Truth and Justice had excluded the Never more the cases of 400 homosexuals detained and tortured during the dictatorship.

-Rabbi Marshall Meyer told Jáuregui that the treatment received by those 400 homosexuals was similar to that of the disappeared Jews: especially sadistic and violent. They were raped in their entirety by their moralistic captors. He also told him that that part of the story was omitted in the Never more due to pressure from the Catholic wing of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights.

* Public Television will broadcast Sex and revolution late at night today, at 00.30. In addition, on Tuesday 29 the film closes the Asterisco Festival, on the Cont.ar platform. And from Thursday, July 1, it will be available for rent at www.virnayernesto.com.ar

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