Trans-Neoliberalism? A Critical Reading of Colombian LGTBI NGOs and Trans Women's Rights Activism - Vol. 31 Nbr. 1, January 2019 - Revista Desafíos - Books and Journals - VLEX 764317077

Trans-Neoliberalism? A Critical Reading of Colombian LGTBI NGOs and Trans Women's Rights Activism

Author:Lina Fernanda Buchely - Natalia Salas Herrera
Position:Lawyer, political scientist, llm and sjd, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia - BA in Economics and Master's degree in Public Policies, Universidad del Valle
Pages:45-81
SUMMARY

Based on criticism of ngozation movements as a way to domesticate and depoliticize collective action, this work discusses the operation of ngos that defend the rights of the lgbti population -specifically trans women- in three Colombian cities: Cali, Bogotá and Barranquilla. Using ethnographic techniques, the authors analyze three organizations that defend the rights associated to sexual... (see full summary)

 
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Desafíos, Bogotá (Colombia), (31-1): 45-81, semestre I de 2019
Trans-Neoliberalism? A Critical
Reading of Colombian lgbti
ngos and Trans Women’s
Rights Activism*
lina Buchely**
natalia salas***
Article Received: April 2, 2018
Article Accepted: August 15, 2018
Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12804/revistas.urosario.edu.co/desaos/a.6640
To quote this article: Buchely, L. & Salas, N. (2019). Trans-neoliberalism? A Critical Read-
ing of Colombian lgB ti ngos and Trans Women’s Rights Activism. Desafíos, 31(1), 45-81.
Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12804/revistas.urosario.edu.co/desaos/a.6640
Abstract
Based on criticism of ngozation movements as a way to domesticate and depoliticize
collective action, this work discusses the operation of ngos that defend the rights of
the lgbti population —specically trans women— in three Colombian cities: Cali,
Bogotá and Barranquilla. Using ethnographic techniques, the authors analyze three
organizations that defend the rights associated to sexual diversity and focus on their
interactions with the trans-population, maintaining that the organizations defraud
their operational goals in at least three ways: (i) they focus on legal mobilization
*
We want to thank professors Natalia Rodríguez Uribe, Diana Solano Gómez and Esteban
Restrepo Saldarriaga for their contributions to the initial versions of this text. Likewise, we
want to thank all the students of the Master’s Degree in Social Studies and Law from Icesi
University, who made valuable comments during the 2017-02 semester research colloquium.
**
Lawyer, political scientist, llm and sJd, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia;
llm, University of Wisconsin at Madison. Full-time Professor at the Universidad Icesi, Cali,
Colombia). E-mail: lfbuchely@icesi.edu.co. orcid: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0500-3820
***
BA in Economics and Master’s degree in Public Policies, Universidad del Valle. Research
assistant, Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia. E-mail: nataliademayo1983@gmail.com.
orcid: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5569-2954
46 / lina buC hely - natalia sa las
Desafíos, Bogotá (Colombia), (31-1): 45-81, semestre I de 2019
—which promotes symbolic rather than material changes— as their main strategy;
(ii) they reinforce polemic gender stereotypes that end up affecting the ver y population
they defend; and (iii) they maintain relationships of instrumentalization, cooptation,
and complementarity with the people they claim to represent.
Keywords: lgbti, ngos, strategic litigation, ngozation, legal fetishism.
¿Neoliberalismo trans? Una lectura crítica de
las ong lbgti y el activismo por los derechos de
las mujeres trans en Colombia
Resumen
Basado en la crítica a los movimientos de ong como una forma de domesticar y des-
politizar la acción colectiva, este trabajo discute el funcionamiento de las ong que
deenden los derechos de la población lgbti, especícamente, de las mujeres trans, en
tres ciudades colombianas: Cali, Bogotá y Barranquilla. Utilizando técnicas etnográ-
cas, las autoras analizan tres organizaciones que deenden los derechos asociados
a la diversidad sexual y se centran en sus interacciones con la población trans. Los
hallazgos las llevan a a argumentar que las organizaciones defraudan sus objetivos
operativos al menos de tres maneras: (i) se centran en la movilización legal que promueve
cambios simbólicos y no materiales, como su principal estrategia; (ii) refuerzan los es-
tereotipos polémicos de géner o que terminan por afectar a la población que deenden; y
(iii) mantienen relaciones de instrumentalización, cooptación y complementariedad con
las personas que dicen representar.
Palabras clave: lgbti, ong, litigio estratégico, ongización, fetichismo legal.
trans-n eolib erali sm? a CritiCal reaD inG oF Col ombia n
lGbti n Gos an D tr ans womens ri Ghts a Ctivism / 47
Desafíos, Bogotá (Colombia), (31-1): 45-81, semestre I de 2019
Neoliberalismo trans? Uma leitura crítica
das ong lbgti e o ativismo pelos direitos das
mulheres trans na Colômbia
Resumo
Baseado na crítica aos movimentos de ongs como uma forma de domesticar e despo-
litizar a ação coletiva, este trabalho discute o funcionamento das ong que defendem
os direitos da população lgbti e especicamente, das mulheres trans, em três cidades
colombianas: Cai, Bogotá e Barranquilla. Utilizando técnicas etnográcas, as au-
toras analisam três organizações que defendem os direitos associados à diversidade
sexual e se centram em suas interações com a população trans. Os resultados levam
às autoras a argumentar que as organizações desapontam seus objetivos operativos
pelo menos de três maneiras: (i) centram-se na mobilização legal, que promove mu-
danças simbólicas e não materiais, como sua principal estratégia; (ii) reforçam os
estereótipos polêmicos de gênero que terminam afetando à população que defendem;
e (iii) mantêm relações de instrumentalização, cooptação e complementariedade com
as pessoas que dizem representar.
Palavras-chave: lgbti, ong, litígio estratégico, ongização, fetichismo legal.
Introduction
Are ngos good mediators between government decision-makers and
civil society? Is it wrong to accuse them of bureaucracy and nancial
motivation? Why should it be such a surprise that they neither “rep-
resent” the lgBti1 population or trans women, nor do they have a
social base? Colombia and other Latin American countries have seen
a recent and signicant, but chaotic, growth of third-sector organiza-
tions. Part of the problem is the conceptualization of this third sector,
in its apparent confusion/cooptation with civil society and ngos. A
number of authors have demonstrated that the current denomination
for the third sector is used indistinctively by government agents and
1 The acronym lgBt or lgBti has been used largely as an umbrella term for non-normative
sexual orientations and gender identities that may exclude others that also challenge the com-
pulsory heterosexuality. However, here we use the terms to refer to the populations whose
common denominator is the fact that they fall outside the controlling sex-gender matrix.

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