Nuestro Mundo Forms as First Queer Organization in Argentina Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

In a climate of social protest and rebellion, Nuestro Mundo, the first queer organization in Argentina, was founded by former workers’ union activists.

Summary of Event

Nuestro Mundo (our world) was the first organization specifically for lesbians and gays in Argentina. Although Nuestro Mundo existed without support and had only a few members, its emergence marked a change in Argentine society. By the end of the 1960’s, a great number of left-wing groups and social protesters were trying to radically transform society. The climate of criticism resulted from decades of struggles between unions and dictatorial governments. Between 1958 and 1966, governments were democratically elected, but Peronism, a form of socialism that was instituted by former Argentine president Juan Perón, Perón, Juan was forbidden. [kw]Nuestro Mundo Forms as First Queer Organization in Argentina (1969) [kw]Queer Organization in Argentina, Nuestro Mundo Forms as First (1969) [kw]Organization in Argentina, Nuestro Mundo Forms as First Queer (1969) [kw]Argentina, Nuestro Mundo Forms as First Queer Organization in (1969) Nuestro Mundo, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina;first GLBT organization[GLBT organization] [c]Organizations and institutions;1969: Nuestro Mundo Forms as First Queer Organization in Argentina[0710] [c]Civil rights;1969: Nuestro Mundo Forms as First Queer Organization in Argentina[0710] Anabitarte, Héctor

In 1966, Argentina faced a coup d’état, with the support of the United States; under the resulting dictatorship, all political parties were forbidden. Resistance was defeated consistently until a 1969 rebellion in Córdoba, the second largest city in the country and one of the most important industrial centers at the time. A great number of underground movements suddenly went public and began to demonstrate against the dictatorship. Nuestro Mundo was part of this social uprising, and, in fact, many of the activists in the organization had previously been active in the workers’ unions.

Although Perón had been democratically elected as president in 1946 and again in 1952, he was a general in the Argentine army, and he had been part of the previous military government. He won the first elections with a coalition that included the army and the Roman Catholic Church, and his views on sexuality were extremely conservative. Among other issues, Perón promoted legally controlled female heterosexual prostitution as a means to prevent the “spread” of homosexuality. Machismo was key to the propaganda of the Perón regime, and he represented himself as the most masculine of men who could master any sport and maintain a courageous approach to politics.

Despite the homophobic social context of the 1950’s, Argentina was becoming an industrialized country where urban anonymity, social mobility, educational possibilities, and other modern social conditions encouraged the emergence of a lesbian and gay intellectual subculture. During this period, a small group of lesbians and gays began to write and publish homophile texts. During the 1960’s new currents of thought began to spread among intellectuals and activists. With the emergence of Peronism, leftist politics, and feminism, there also emerged new attitudes toward sexuality. The creation of Nuestro Mundo was part of this new social milieu.

Nuestro Mundo had its first meetings in a small kitchen of a poor suburban house in greater Buenos Aires. Some neighbors suspected that underground political meetings were taking place, and the group was denounced. Nuestro Mundo continued its meetings in a station house, where every fifteen minutes its members had to hide from train passengers. Despite the obstacles the group faced, Nuestro Mundo had an ambitious goal: to make lesbians and gays politically conscious of their oppression. To fulfill this goal, the group distributed information about homosexual oppression to the press. Héctor Anabitarte, the founder of the group, explained that journalists had been surprised to receive this message from a masculine man whom they would never have expected to be homosexual; they also had been shocked that he was willing to express his homosexuality in an open manner.

Anabitarte had been a unionist and a Communist. In 1967, he had gone to Moscow to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. He was assured that there were no homosexuals in Soviet Russia. After being ousted from the Communist Party for being an out homosexual, Anabitarte tried to organize a queer group on his own. In 1969, he met several gay and lesbian workers who were willing to join him in creating Nuestro Mundo.

As part of the strategy to reach lesbians and gays, Nuestro Mundo published a mimeographed newsletter to promote its views. While the group was courageous and promoted forms of activism unknown at the time, the newsletter made clear that the organization’s goal was not to “promote” homosexuality. Fearing the consequences of their activism in an age of dictatorial rule, Nuestro Mundo members, according to their writings, wanted only to represent the life of homosexual people realistically and to correct distortions and stereotypes. The group published biographies of famous queer intellectuals as well as film reviews, news, and interviews with married homosexuals who felt they had no choice but to hide their true sexuality.

The group also promoted intellectual discussions at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1970, during the dictatorship, two gays participated on equal terms for the first time in a roundtable discussion with two professors who were specialists on the subject of homosexuality. These activities increased the audience for Nuestro Mundo, and eventually a group of young lesbian and gay activists from left-wing parties decided to join the queer group. The new activists were university students, and they gave a new tone to the group. They promoted a direct challenge for lesbian and gay rights, and they asked for a change in the name of the group to Frente de Liberación Homosexual Frente de Liberación Homosexual (FLH, the Homosexual Liberation Front). José “Pepe” Bianco, Bianco, José “Pepe” an intellectual and writer who had been skeptical about the battle for queer rights, offered his house as a meeting place and translated articles about the queer movement in the United States.

Significance

In the early 1970’s, Frente de Liberación Homosexual played an important role in politics, even as it was rejected by the left. However, in 1976 a military dictatorship gained power in Argentina, and the group was dissolved in an environment in which some thirty thousand people, accused of being subversives, were killed.

As part of the effort to remember and vindicate Nuestro Mundo, an Argentine gay pride parade is celebrated the first Saturday of every November, the same date on which Nuestro Mundo, the first lesbian and gay group in Argentina, was founded. Nuestro Mundo, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina;first GLBT organization[GLBT organization]

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Adam, Barry D., Willem Jan Duyvendak, and André Krouwel, eds. The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Balderston, Daniel, and Donna Guy. Sex and Sexuality in Latin America. New York: New York University Press, 1997.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Bazán, Osvaldo. Historia de la homosexualidad en la Argentina: De la conquista de América al siglo XXI. Buenos Aires: Marea, 2004.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Berco, Cristian. “Silencing the Unmentionable: Non-reproductive Sex and the Creation of a Civilized Argentina, 1860-1900.” The Americas 58, no. 3 (January, 2002): 419-441.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Brown, Stephen. “’Con discriminación y represión no hay democracia.’ The Lesbian and Gay Movement in Argentina.” Latin American Perspectives 29, no. 2 (March, 2002): 119-138.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Guy, Donna. Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, and Nation in Argentina. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Rapisardi, Flavio, and Alejandro Modarelli. Fiestas, baños y exilios: Los gays porteños en la última dictadura. Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2001.

November 17, 1901: Police Arrest “Los 41” in Mexico City

1912-1924: Robles Fights in the Mexican Revolution

November, 1965: Revolutionary Cuba Imprisons Gays

October 14-17, 1987: Latin American and Caribbean Lesbian Feminist Network Is Formed

1990: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Is Founded

June 19, 2002: Gays and Lesbians March for Equal Rights in Mexico City

April, 2003: Buenos Aires Recognizes Same-Gender Civil Unions

January, 2006: Jiménez Flores Elected to the Mexican Senate

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