Diasporic Puerto Rican Transgender Genealogies: From Mario Montez to Mala Mala


Monday, February 22, 2016, 4:00pm


Harvard University, William James Hall, Room 105

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
Associate Professor and Director of Latina/o Studies Program, University of Michigan

Please join us for the launch of the Latina/o Studies Working Group!

Puerto Rican drag queens and transgender women have played a central role in American avant-garde cinema and performance, LGBT activism, and contemporary mass-media entertainment. In this talk I discuss Mario Montez’s pioneering negotiation of shame and sinverguëncería in Andy Warhol’s Screen Test #2 (1965), Holly Woodlawn’s engagement with poverty and welfare in Warhol and Paul Morissey’s Trash (1970), and contemporary rearticulations of politics and identity in Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ documentary Mala Mala (2014). I frame these in relation to other contributions such as those of Stonewall veteran Sylvia Rivera (represented cinematographically in a diversity of films) and to the Puerto Rican presence on the first seven seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-2015). I analyze these interventions as instantiations of translocas, which is to say, vernacular transgender identities and practices that negotiate diaspora.

Co-Sponsors: Instituto Cervantes, Observatorio and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies