Before birth, as soon as the ultrasound predicts the (still unfinished) shape of our sex, we are assigned a gender. Our parents, convinced that they know the most important aspect of our identity, begin searching for a name, buying us pink or blue clothes, and filling our bedroom with objects with which to drill, throughout our childhood, certain behaviors into our brains: whether to drive firetrucks or play with dolls. What happens when children are born with a double or an ambiguous sex? If later on in their lives they realise that they are not what they were made to believe, or if they refuse to stick to the role they were assigned? What would our world be like if, instead of names like Augusto or Soledad, we were given word compounds such as “cloud over the lake” or “embers in the fire” as in other civilizations, and we were allowed to choose or invent a gender for ourselves?
This issue picks up an urgent and enthralling conversation that has been moving through the public sphere for years. It is a delicate subject because, firstly, what it puts up for discussion is the experience of those who have been victims of discrimination and rejection, and secondly because the concept of gender itself is being profoundly redefined. This is why we sought the guidance of scholars and experts whom we thank for their patience and help. Our goal was to contribute to this important debate by bringing together a plurality of voices and testimonies. Is the acronym LGBT+ necessary? What is currently going on with the idea of gender? What dangers do women face? Who is included in the feminist struggle? What are the issues surrounding masculinity nowadays? What is the relationship between gender and human or civil rights?
In an exclusive interview for this issue, Judith Butler insists that the feminist struggle cannot separate itself from trans women or political issues such as migration, feminicide, and the crimes perpetrated by the State. In an essay called “Harassment and #MeToo,” Marta Lamas outlines the debate that this hashtag provoked on social media and contributes to the discussion about what constitutes sexual harassment. The academic and trans activist Paul B. Preciado explains how the idea of the nation is just as much of an imposition as binary gender, while in a very personal essay, Sandra Lorenzano talks to us about the sexual identity that she has constructed for herself over the course of her life. And where does the heterosexual man stand on this broad horizon? We would have considered this edition incomplete had we not included the voices of two heterosexual writers who were willing to speak about it, despite how intimidating they might find this context.
How does one learn to see the other without fear, open-minded enough to discover who they really are? How do we avoid the prejudice that forces us to see the world through the barriers and straitjackets prescribed by the most conservative groups? How do we learn to live respecting differences? If the authors of this issue have made one thing clear, it is that the question of gender is not only a topic for specialists, but an intimate and everyday experience that concerns us all. We must train ourselves to see what is implicit in our everyday lives, to detect the messages and the mandates of society, that firetruck or doll allocated to us the moment we drop our guard. It is about learning to free ourselves from their grip when we deem it necessary. The issue of gender and the questions it raises generates fear because it hits a nerve, that of our own identity. That is why, dear reader, we suggest that as you open this issue you take a deep breath, let go of your prejudice at least for a moment, and open yourself up to human experience at its most moving, strange, and fascinating.
Imagen de portada: Hermafrodita durmiente (copia romana del siglo II a.n.e.). Colección del Museo Louvre