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APRIL


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1 April 2022

A Body of One’s Own: Trans Embodiment Technologies and Knowledge Production in Argentina

Dr. Patricio Simonetto, University College London 

Discussant: Dr. Eliza Steinbock, author of Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (Duke University Press, 2019)
 

Unlike other countries where gender affirmation surgery access was restricted but still allowed under certain conditions, Argentina has prohibited any treatment that affected reproductive organs since 1967. Different legal codes have penalised people dressed as the “opposite sex” since the 1930s. This criminalisation has threatened trans people’s right to existence and made gender affirmation practices clandestine, expensive and dangerous. In this presentation, Dr. Patricio Simonetto analyses how male and female trans people challenged state restrictions by producing knowledge and homemade technologies to affirm their gender. He explores the history of a vast repertoire of medical and social practices, such as self-injected hormones or liquid industrial silicone. The presentation also explores how people have experimented with their bodies, performing them in living laboratories to affirm their gender beyond legal and medical control, and how this pushed them to precarious conditions. Finally, it addresses how activists have formulated an alternative body discourse that challenges the biotechnological promise of an alleged “correct body” as an undeniable trans future.