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Monday, 11 June 2012

Difference and erogenesis

I always thought sexual politics is a good place to reflect about differences. Been working on a text with Luanna Barbosa about the different sexual counteridentities (Andalzúa´s term) and the absence of a unique matrix of identities. We considered the case of the Aravanis (Hijras) in India and that of the Muxes in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Mexico. Even though they counter a compulsory binarism, these identities don´t match those of the standart sexual identity alphabet (LGBTTTIQA). In India they use LGBTKQJH (for lesbians, gays, bis, transexuals, kotis, queers, jogins and hijras). An approximate translation would associate kotis with effeminates, jogins with (religious) cross-dressers and hijras with something between castrati, transvestites and transsexuals. But the difficulties in translation is telling: they carve different joints. If any traduttore is a tradittore, there should be no privileged pole to use as a bedrock. Viveiros de Castro insists that it is a better policy to translate in order to make the familiar alien rather than the other way round. To bring alien terms home is, in a sense, to place them in a correlation with us where we are placed in a Ptolomaic center. To proceed in the other way round is rather to make the familiar more strange. In any case, difference springs from the absence of a bedrock parameter. There are two alphabets, and more. And the routes that generated those alphabets are themselves irreducible to a standart (bedrock) route.

I tend to believe that there is some sort of erogenesis in sexual difference. It is the principle of esquizotrans (see, for example, blog, films at esquizotrans at youtube): try and exorcise identities while keeping a place for sexual difference. There is more to the contrast between poles of heterosexuality than just compulsory identities, there is sexual difference that itself generates new desires and therefore new counteridentities. A mechanism of sexual difference is that of gynefilia and androfilia - the taste for the feminine, the taste for the masculine. They can become, for example, heterogynefilia or autogynefilia. Sedgwick´s opening chapter of her Epistemology of the Closet has an amazing analysis of alliances within gay and lesbian movements (gay movements that were rooted in misoginy, for example, so that men should have no contact whatsoever with women, that is
autoandrofilia and heteroandrofilia). Autogynefilia is a liking of the feminine in oneself. It is behind cross-dressing, some forms of travestisms, maybe some transexuality, the moves of some hijras (according to the autobiography of A. Revathi) and other forms of effeminism. Similarly for autoandrofilia. These movements of desire are forces to become something, they act wildly, in different directions and in that sense they harbour an erogenesis.
But sexual difference has no bedrock poles itself. Even though Irigaray meant the term to be attached to the masculine and the feminine poles, I guess sexual difference appears also among any two letters in the alphabets. In fact, this is why the alphabets are important: they locate places of friction.

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