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The Future Already Was: A Critique of the Idea of Progress in Sex-Gendered and Queer Identitarian Liberation Narratives in Abya Yala

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The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Race and Gender


Freedom and individuation as part of Western emancipatory political movements re-inscribe subjugation. This chapter contributes to a critique of feminist sexual liberation through interrogating the use of “difference” by those who promise non-normative futures. The discussion attends to several questions. How have we been agents in the service of the expansion of imperial racist reason? How has reason become Eurocentric enabling the invalidation, and destruction of other ways of thinking, understanding, organizing and living the world, sexuality and erotic-affective relationships? How much of what we have pointed out as limited and oppressive forms of understanding of the full exercise of sexuality and identity is due to the way in which the West has produced truth about sexuality and gender?

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  1. 1.

    The concept of the Modern Colonial System of Gender, proposed by Maria Lugones (2008), refers to the historical production of a hierarchical gender system indivisible production of the idea of human and non-human, which is inherent in the colonization of “America”, the world rankings of race and the advent of Modernity.

  2. 2.

    See: Viveros, Mara, Rivera, Claudia and Rodríguez, Manuel (Compilers), 2006; Pelucio, Larissa, 2014; Figari, Carlos, 2014; Valeria Flores, 2004, 2008; Periodicus Journal V. 1, No. 1, 2014.

  3. 3.

    Magazine published since 1995 by the Interdisciplinary Institute of Gender and Sexuality Studies (IIEGE) of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Buenos Aires. For more information:

  4. 4.

    It was an independent feminist magazine published in Argentina under the coordination of the US citizens Lea Fletcher and Argentinian feminist philosopher Diana Maffia during the period 1988–2007. For more information:

  5. 5.

    Mexican biannual publication that since 1990 focuses on the perspective of gender and sexual difference with the collaboration of intellectuals, politicians, researchers, and well-known national and international activists. Web page:

  6. 6.

    Published by the Center for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies and the Center for Communication and Expression of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, since 1992. For more information:

  7. 7.

    Larissa Pelúcio informs us that queer theory arrives in Brazil “at the beginning of this century, markedly through the work of the philosopher Judith Butler” continuous “Differently do that we US passou, you estudos queer entraram no Brasil pela porta e não das universities as social policy expressão vinda do Movimento” (2014: 1 and 7).

  8. 8.

    Iris Hernandez, renowned Chilean feminist lesbian consulted by email, remembers that for the case of Chile, during the mid-nineties, Chilean universities already began to read some canonical texts of queer theory. She recalls how academic Chileans, who were in Spain, manage to make the bridge with the University of Chile, and specifically the Center for Gender Studies and Culture in Latin America (CEGECAL), to bring Beatriz Preciado to the country in early 2004. “My perception is the dykes, of course, were the ones who spread their work more massively at least in the sexual diversity political circuits […] the coming of Preciado was preceded by the formation of reading groups of their texts […] at that time she was not so widely read, but she was sufficiently valued by the academy, she was already known and that supports the dissemination” (Hernandez, personal conversation by e-mail, October 10, 2014).

  9. 9.

    In 1997, the renowned and influential magazine Feminist Debate published the number “Raras rarezas (Rare oddities),” referring to what it identified as an area of study that was “gaining a special significance not only for the understanding and study of diversity in sexualities but also in different cultural expressions.” “The term queer is more than a word difficult to translate to Spanish, besides being just that: a term generated in a different culture from ours -as Bolivar Echeverria explained so brilliantly in the letter sent to us as a collaboration for this number-, which has no equivalent that brings us immediately to sense the meaning that evokes in English.” says the editorial of the issue (Year 8. Vol. October 16, 1997).

  10. 10.

    Paper presented at the panel “Feminismos decoloniales, lésbico-feminista antiracist, feminism comunitario y otras miradas feministas (Decolonial feminisms, lesbian-feminist anti-racism, communitarian feminism and other feminist looks)” within the conference Feminisms and decolonial lesbo-feminisms, anti-racist, and practices of resistance from women in the territories. Held from July 9–11, 2014, in Guatemala City and organized by GLEFAS, Revista Imagina and independent feminist lesbians.

  11. 11.

    To expand this idea, I recommend the work of Gladys Tzul Tzul “Las tensiones entre transformación y conservación dentro de los sistemas de gobierno: parentesco, uso y propiedad de la tierra comunal (Tensions between transformation and conservation within government systems: kinship, use and ownership of communal land)” (2016).

  12. 12.

    Paradigmatic and, for example, I bring here the Celebración de los amantes (Celebration of lovers), a conference convened lesbian feminists and developed in Argentina twice: 2012 and 2014. In the presentation, the organizers explained that “This celebration is proposed as a space for circulation, discussion and production of knowledge, experiences and dissident positions, counter-hegemonic or minority positions of lesbian activism.” The idea, the allusive names and key definitions emerged and are taken from the text of Monique Wittig and Sande Zeig, “Borrador para un diccionario de las amantes (Draft for a dictionary of Lovers)” (1975). The call explained its restrictive idea of community among women: “The lovers are those who, experiencing a violent desire for each other, live/love in villages, according to the verses of Sappho, “in beauty I will sing for my lovers”. The villages of lovers belonging to such lovers, gather all culture, past, inventions, songs and ways of life.” See:


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This work is a version of the same title in Spanish “El futuro ya fue: una crítica a la idea del progreso en las narrativas de liberación sexo-genéricas y queer identitarias en Abya Yala”. Published in Raul Moarquech Ferrera - Balanquet (comp.), Andar erótico decolonial, Ediciones el Signo, colección El desprendimiento. Buenos Aires, 2015, pp. 21–39. Thanks to the expert work of reviewing and editing the original text by Annabelle Contreras. My thanks to her and also to Iris Hernandez, Celenis Rodriguez, Juan Manuel Burgos, Leandro Colling, and Enmanuel Themeur, for their guidance and input in the research for this text.

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Yuderkys Espinosa Miñoso (Translated by Papusa Molina). (2022). The Future Already Was: A Critique of the Idea of Progress in Sex-Gendered and Queer Identitarian Liberation Narratives in Abya Yala. In: Tate, S.A., Gutiérrez Rodríguez, E. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Race and Gender. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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