Lawrence Schimel (desayunoencama) wrote,
Lawrence Schimel

Homophobia and Argentina

I was a bit surprised on the trip, since I had expected Argentina (a city of 12 million) to be the more liberal area, as opposed to when we were down in the Southern tip visiting the end of the world.

But the gay scene in Argentina is still very vestigial, and somewhat "French" in the refusal to claim an identity. Rather than being "gay" things were "friendly". The most open groups in their sexual identity we saw was the Bears Club in Buenos Aires, who advertised their bar and events. There were a few notices for queer tango places when we were in San Telmo, which is a bohemian neighborhood (sort of East Village a decade or few ago, compared to the Recoleta/Palermo area which would be more Chelsea, to use NYC references).

But very often, people in Buenos Aires woulds tare at Isma and me if we walked down the street holding hands, to say nothing of the hyper-machismo atmosphere in some of the bodegones we ate in.

At the same time, when in both Ushuaia and Patagonia, everyone was extremely positive and warm and welcoming, both the few locals (who admittedly are mostly involved with tourism, so nothing phases them) and the other tourists (many Spaniards, in fact). Isma (who's 30) and I (35) were much younger than most of the other tourists we ran into.

It was nice how enthusiastic so many of the Spanish tourists were when they found out we were on our honeymoon, offering to take photos of the two of us together, asking how long we've been together, and so on.

On the flight back, Isma and I were sandwiched in the middle two seats of the middle section of the plane. And there was an obnoxiously right-winged Chilean (we think, from the accent) on the aisle, next to Isma, who shortly after we took off moved to another seat because we were holding hands and exchanged a few chaste kisses.

While we were aware of why he moved, he didn't say anything to us or otherwise do anything unpleasant. And the up side is that we had a more-comfortable flight as a result, since we took over the extra seat. (It was almost 12 hours on the return trip, so the extra space was more than welcome.)

The guy on my other side was less overt, although he did tend to lean out into the aisle whenever possible, as if trying to get as far away from us as possible, which at least left me the use of the shared armrest. (Isma slept for par tof the flight, but I find that difficult, so I mostly read a Georgette Heyer novel I found in Buenos Aires, plus a volume of Quino's fabulous Mafalda cartoons that Isma had bought, and some essays in Gore Vidal's PINK TRIANGLE AND YELLOW STAR.)
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