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Puerto Rico: Sexual Politics

Categories: Latin America, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Religion, Women & Gender, Youth

Puerto Rican bloggers grapple with questions of feminism, reproductive rights, and gay marriage in this round up of posts.

The gay marriage debate has arrived in Puerto Rico, where Christian groups, assisted by United States hardliners against abortion and gay marriage, like the Alliance Defense Fund [1], are seeking an amendment to the Puerto Rican constitution [2] to define marriage as being between a man and a woman only.

Edwin Vázquez, blogging at Cargas y Descargas fear this change to the constitution would “legitimize the persecution of homosexuals and hetrosexuals who cohabit”. In a post called “The Inquisition in Puerto Rico” [3] [es], he points to the numerous civil rights breaches committed by the Alliance Defense Fund and says:

No permitamos que gente de afuera venga a trastocar NUESTRA CONSTITUCIÓN. Eso es lo que nos espera en Puerto Rico. Casi veo a la mayoría de los legisladores reuniéndose con estos trogloditas. La línea está trazada y no hay lugar para la indiferencia. A luchar por nuestros derechos.

We cannot permit that people from the outside come here to subvert OUR CONSTITUTION. This is what awaits us in Puerto Rico. I see almost the majority of our legislators backing up these troglodytes. The line is drawn and there is no room for indifference. To the fight for our rights.

Nuyorican (New York + Puerto Rico) blogger Mamita Mala has been to the movies to see Juno [4], a film about a teenager who becomes pregnant out of wedlock. A single mother, she reflects on an article she read [5] about how several recent films about unexpected pregnancy suggest not having an abortion leads to a happy ending:

Originally after seeing the movie, I thought about taking my 10 year old to see Juno. But suddenly I backtracked. My daughter and I have had candid discussions about sex and pregnancy and contraception but not about abortion. Am I ready for that?

Hey mom what’s an abortion? Have you ever had one?

Um yeah, and I thought of aborting you.

Of course I would never say that, at least not in that hard harsh way but just what sort of a message do I want to send to my daughter about such an issue? Especially in an age when an abortion is harder to get , especially for young women of color. Especially in a culture that already looks at it’s young woman as sex objects in one breath, and in the same breath expects them to keep their knees locked to a reggaeton beat.

At Tinta Digital, Eugenio Martínez Rodríguez wonders [6][es] whether new strands of feminism in Puerto Rico are actually less about female equality than female superiority. He asks whether there could be a campaign against this female version of “machismo”, without implying that women should not have equal rights. “What is the alternative? To do nothing?” he asks.