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martes, 6 de junio 2023
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Older Faggots: Homosexuality in the Villages of Antioquia

By: Andrea Carolina Vargas Malagón - Journalist
Locas de pueblo. Maricas mayores en los municipios de Antioquia (Village faggots: older faggots in the municipalities of Antioquia), the most recent publication by Guillermo Antonio Correa Montoya, professor and researcher at the UdeA, pays homage to the homosexuals of the second half of the twentieth century, who seized their territory and showed that "mariquiar" (to behave like a faggot) is not a matter only of the cities.

Karis, one of the protagonists of the stories in Locas de pueblo. Maricas mayores en los municipios de Antioquia Photo: Marco Antonio Montoya and Ángela Rave.

In 272 pages and with the support of Fondo Editorial FCSH, Guillermo Antonio Correa Montoya, social worker, PhD in history and professor and researcher at UdeA, recounts the cultural dynamics of five Antioquia municipalities through the figure of the "loca de pueblo" (“the village faggot”) in each territory.

Locas de pueblo is the latest installment of a research project that intertwines the recovery of memory and oral history with literary analysis and qualitative interpretation to understand how homosexuality is represented and read in the municipalities of Antioquia.

"The book is a summary of a whole research process. It has an initial part, which is a theoretical reflection on the idea of ‘loca,' five biographical chronicles and, finally, a historical reconstruction based on a reading of press archives, mainly from the Radioperiódico Clarín, a documentary source of Medellín with news broadcast by this radio station between 1959 and 1988," commented Correa.

The life stories of "las locas" from Carepa, Chigorodó, Andes, Caldas and San Rafael, territories where he found the collaboration of the characters he was looking for, allowed Correa to dismantle the idea that it is dangerous to explore the transgression of sexuality and gender outside the big cities. It is a story that, without denying the violence and discrimination in these contexts, shows that towns are places where differences can also live.

"La loca de pueblo is a widely visible, singularized character, for whom it is impossible to remain anonymous and, particularly, produced in the collective imagination as a popular character." Locas de pueblo. Maricas mayores en los municipios de Antioquia

"Generally, we think that the city is the sign of progress, and rural contexts are seen as traditional and backward, as the worst scenario for "a faggot". However, Professor Guillermo's work challenges this commonplace and shows that this traditional vision of effeminate people in the villages is not exactly as it has been imagined," claimed Pablo Bedoya, an expert in gender studies and a professor and researcher at UdeA.

The book Locas de pueblo. Maricas mayores en los municipios de Antioquia, the result of a two-year research project, was possible thanks to Guillermo's motivation to understand the social, political and cultural dynamics of homosexuality in Antioquia and to the contribution of students from some of the regional branches of the University, who approached the lives of the characters to enter their world and make them visible to society.

"What Guillermo did, beyond investigating current theories on gender diversity, was to ask himself about a population that is generally forgotten in these studies: older men who, as we know, have culturally had to avoid the possibility of their sexual identity and openly living their lives," said Diana Carmona, editor of the Fondo Editorial FCSH, who accompanied Correa during the publication process.

Homosexuality and older people are two topics of interest that converge to tell the cultural history of a territory and make room for a population that is sometimes forgotten. "I find it very interesting that the publication is not only about the rural theme but also about the elderly since many of the discussions around faggots end up focusing mainly on youth experiences," Bedoya stated.

Guillermo Correa's book is not only disruptive in content but also in form. There are three chapters with different styles, independent and complementary at the same time, a challenge for the reader, who can choose how to articulate it to get the best out of it. “‘Locas’ are very daring, so the book has to look a bit like them," said Correa.

Locas de pueblo was launched in December 2022. In little more than two months, the publication was scarce in the leading bookstores of the country, which, according to Diana Carmona, shows good public acceptance for the book and for a topic of interest that will be discussed for several years to come.

Karis and courage. Source: Guillermo Antonio Correa Montoya. Acrylic on canvas. Private collection.

"Faggot": Life Strategy and Synonym of Resistance

Gender diversity and homosexuality are flagship themes in Guillermo Correa's line of research. This recent book is part of a triad of publications with which he seeks to take a broad look at the dynamics of homosexuality in society and contribute to the demystification of the concept of "faggot", which runs through the three deliveries.

"Raros (The Queer) (2017) is a more metropolitan reading, Amores oblicuos (Twisted Love) (to be published) is a national look, and with Locas comes a more local look, with which one manages to remove those prejudices that had appeared that being gay in a town is horrible, marginal and very sad. What one finds is that there is a power and a very intense life in the municipalities of Antioquia", commented Correa about his works.

After the analysis of literature and the linking of oral stories as living memories of the protagonists of the chronicles of this text, Guillermo succeeds in showing how the term "loca," which is often used as an offense, is adopted by this community, transformed, and used as a weapon to inhabit the territory.

"Each of these characters took possession and conquered that repertoire and designed strategies to remain and be part of the cultural life of these municipalities. Let's say that the concept, although established from the outside, is a break and a conquest from within," Correa explained.

"Professor Guillermo's work allows us to question in other ways some of the canonical categories that we have established in academic and social movements to name these experiences; categories that are quite insufficient to understand better what happens in these rural contexts and with older ‘faggots’," said Bedoya.

"‘La loca’ is not a woman, nor does he aspire to be one. He does not belong in the the trans category either. In this sense, it is key to understand that the "loca" exists before the gay or LGBTI scheme. They are men who break away from a hegemonic virility without renouncing to be men." Locas de pueblo. Maricas mayores en los municipios de Antioquia.

Diana Carmona, Pablo Bedoya and Guillermo Correa agree that Locas de pueblo. Maricas mayores en los municipios de Antioquia is a work that paves the way to broaden the discussions around this community in Colombia and Latin America. "This is a gateway book that tells me: Hey! You have to look; there are a lot of stories out there waiting for someone to tell them," Correa said. 

The publication is available at the Cooprudea bookstore, the University’s main office and the leading bookstores in the country. For the academic community of Universidad de Antioquia, it is available for loan at the Library System in printed and digital format.

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