Words & Pics by Justin Lutz
The purpose of this photographic essay is to illustrate existing
structures of power which serve to create, perpetuate, or inhibit a
sense of queer identity idiosyncratic of Buenos Aires. Originally
seeking to situate and destabilize the notion of Latin American
"machismo" within the framework of a seemingly liberal city that is
rapidly becoming a beacon for LGBT tourism. My ideas have, since
arriving in Buenos Aires, quickly shifted to intrinsic manifestations
of power that are embedded into masculinity and "machismo," leading me
away from superficial notions concerning an overtly tolerant South
American megalopolis, and towards the very palpable economic,
political, and social structures of power that enable, or indeed,
revoke the image of the queer Porteño/a.
The first space presented here is the "telo," or "albergue? transitorio." These rooms are rented by the hour and used overtly and exclusively for sex. This space is not a queer one; in fact, telos are very common in Buenos Aires and traverse every possible demographic. The space is remarkable for its queer potential and for its irrevocable role in the sex industry. The import of this space, then, is its ability to illustrate the very fragile divide between the economic and the sexual; the business of pleasure, as well as its ability to provide a revelatory glimpse into the nonchalant psyche that permeates Porteño philosophies of the sexual.