On the Edge or ‘When Sexualities and Gender Identities Modernise: Paraguayans and Brazilians at the Border Between Foz Do Iguaçu and Ciudad del Este’
Oliveira, Nickolas Gomes de Sá
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The story I try to tell here concerns my experience and the experiences of sexual and gender non-conforming individuals who live in the border region between Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) and Ciudad del Este (CDE, Paraguay). Through personal reports and information collected from Paraguayans and Brazilians by semi-structured interviews, I sought to show, first, how their discourses displayed both an idea of hierarchical relationships regarding a fictive scale of modernity linked to development, which used diverse sexualities and gender identities as a measure of progress. Then, I also sought to portray how their crossings displayed an understanding of borders that was at the same time restrictive but carried in its essence the potential to deterritorialise the rigid modern political logics of separation, difference and national development based on the idea of an unrestrained acceptance towards sexual and gender diversities. In general, I could notice that these people used the border not only for trivial activities but also used it as a way to express their sexuality and gender identities, mainly on the Brazilian side. The goal of this research was to question what does the pendular mobility of sexual and gender non-conforming Paraguayans and Brazilians between Foz do Iguaçu and CDE and the modern discourse of development through the acceptance of diversity, represented for the continuity of the logic of subjective and physical boundaries. I argued that, while the international pendulum mobility of Paraguayan and Brazilian individuals has the potential to challenge and blur the established limits of the state logic of borders, to reveal an immanent space of possibilities; such mobility, however, also carries with it the reinforcement of that same logic, by reproducing a “modern discourse on diversity”.