23 | JUL | 2019
Gays are commercialized while lesbians are shunned
“It would seem that nobody wants to talk about lesbianism anywhere, not even feminists in academia,” Yan María Yaoyólotl states - Photo: Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda/EFE

Gays are commercialized while lesbians are shunned

Sonia Sierra
Mexico City
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Yan María Yaoyólotl is a lesbo-feminist activist who seeks to make feminist lesbianism visible

The system has “divinized” all things gay while completely shunning feminist lesbianism. This is Yan María Yaoyólotl’s central thesis. She is a lesbo-feminist activist who seeks to convey this idea through the exposition called Laberintos Inexplorados. Entre la misoginia y la lesbofobia (Unexplored Labyrinths: Between Misogyny and Lesbophobia), which will be displayed until July 1 at the José María Velasco gallery in Mexico City.

Yan María Yaoyólotl starts by expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to put her work on display in this gallery after being invited directly by Alfredo Matus, the director of the gallery. She expressed that, for the first time, and through the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), a space has been opened to discuss the subject of lesbianism. She celebrates that the gallery is located in Tepito, a neighborhood that has often been “demonized by institutions of social control,” stressing that its indigenous and native origins should be reclaimed.

“It would seem that nobody wants to talk about lesbianism anywhere, not even feminists in academia,” Yan María Yaoyólotl states. She has made an archive of over 9,000 documents under her name, from which the documentary exposition was born.

The activist accuses the feminist movement in Mexico of being lesbophobic: “Within the feminist movement, there’s a very subtle lesbophobia, clothed in political correctness, but institutional feminism has only thrown lesbianism to the territory of sexual diversity.

She explains that feminism has two main approaches: On the one hand, there’s the heterosexual feminism or heterofeminism, and on the other, the lesbian feminism or lesbofeminism. She considers the lesbian approach to be the most radical and the one that has most challenged institutional and political standards, while the approach that has managed to adapt to the system is the heterosexual feminism.

“The heterosexual majority has pretended not to notice lesbianism and cast it away from feminism to basically throw it at sexual diversity. We are completely against this attitude that has been perpetrated by many institutional feminists and, especially, I’m not afraid to say it, by Marta Lamas,” she stated.

When asked about her accusation against anthropologist Marta Lamas, founder of the “Debate Feminista” (Feminist Debate) magazine, she responded:

“Marta has kept feminist lesbianism hidden. We had insisted to use her magazine to hold a debate about the history of the lesbian feminist movement, and she said no. Marta has allowed for the history of feminism to be written without lesbians.”

The Unexplored Labyrinths exposition fits within the International Festival of Sexual Diversity in Mexico City. “This exhibition is about the archive (my archive), which consists of approximately 9,000 documents about feminist lesbianism. We don’t talk about gay people, homosexuality, LGBT, or Queer culture… This exposition is about the first group that went public: Oikabeth, in 1978. Today, there are all kinds of expositions in other museums, but if people look closely they will notice a fundamental difference: gay culture has been commercialized.”

She describes the sample as a political exhibition: “If people come expecting to find two naked women lying in bed, they will be disappointed, because there are mostly political documents. My exhibit is political because lesbians are women too, we live in a patriarchal society that empowers new forms of social oppression and exploitation.”

The activist feels that the system has divinized all things gay: “We see a major difference; they are growing, gaining more and more power in all spheres. Women, on the other hand (especially in third world countries), are growing more and more fucked over.”

The exposition shows the beginnings of the Mexican lesbian-feminist movement, which is now 40 years old. The José María Velasco gallery is located on Peralvillo street, 55, in the Morelos neighborhood.


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