Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

www.mfah.org Home

IcaadocsArchive

Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    778075
    TITLE
    Hermafrodita
    IN
    El Universal (México, D. F., México). -- Feb. 1, 1894
    LANGUAGES
    Spanish
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Newspaper article – Reviews
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    "Hermafrodita." El Universal (Mexico City), February 1, 1894.
    TOPIC DESCRIPTORS
    GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTORS
Editorial Categories [?]
Synopsis

Avoiding sensationalism and bad faith, this article addresses the case of a woman with masculine tendencies who takes the matter to confession with a priest (a modern and broad-minded priest). The priest is neither scandalized by the woman’s “voluptuousness” nor by her physical desire for a person of her own sex in her search for love. So instead of imposing a penance on her, he sends her to a doctor for an operation to have her sex established, once and for all. Thus the “new man,” after a brief convalescence, marries “one of his old friends,” who, surprisingly and without looking back, assumes the role of his faithful wife.

Annotations

During the administration of Porfirio Díaz (1876-1910), the press often provided news on "marimachos" [lesbians, tomboys] and "failures" (as homosexuals were called). Based on the investigations done by writers such as Miguel Capistrán, Robert Mckee, Carlos Monsiváis, Salvador Novo, Luis Mario Schneider, to name only a few, we know that sexual diversity was not so new in the nineteenth century. Two examples are Mckee’s essay "El Periquillo sarniento y sus cuates: el ‘éxtasis misterioso’ del ambiente homosocial en el siglo diecinueve" [The Mangy Parakeet and His Pals: The ‘Mysterious Ecstasy’ of the Homosocial Environment in the Nineteenth Century] and his book The Trials and Tribulations of los hijos de la chingada [the Sons of Bitches]: Mexican Masculinities, 1810-1960. In both his article and his book, Mckee analyzes the presence of homosexuality since the early nineteenth century. In this news item, a priest accepts hermaphroditism without moral question or public scandal. This is a matter that continues to be a subject of dispute to this day. It is also the subject of a novel by Luis Zapata, La hermana secreta de Angélica María [The Secret Sister of Angelica María] that illustrates that ignorance, social taboos and prejudice are factors that prevent in Mexico the natural acceptance of hermaphroditism. By contrast, in the visual arts, artists such as José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), Diego Rivera (1886-1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) and Antonio Ruiz (1897-1964) ridiculed and attacked both effeminate qualities [in men] and masculine tendencies [in women] in certain cultural sectors in Mexico. 

Researcher
Alejandro García
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit

Location
Fondo Reservado del Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas: Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional