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Mulata NationVisualizing Race and Gender in Cuba$
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Alison Fraunhar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496814432

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496814432.001.0001

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From There to Here

From There to Here

The Politics of Mulata Self-Fashioning

(p.175) Chapter Five From There to Here
Mulata Nation

Alison Fraunhar

University Press of Mississippi

With the onset of the period of intense economic deprivation that followed in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, Cubans turned to improvised as well as officially endorsed modes of expression and strategies for survival. With the reintroduction of tourism as a vital industry, tourist desire for both hetero- and homosexual (symbolized by sexy mulatas and drag performers embodying them) stimulated suppressed identities and demanded a reframing of discourses of prostitution and sexuality. Mulata, prostitute, and cross dressed and transgendered bodies were no longer the symbolic domain of representation and performance, but instead became embodied, lived reality. These took place among the preeminent sites for debates about the post-revolutionary era, which began in people’sconsciousness well in advance of state recognition. These suppressed but increasingly visible identities and subject positions were documented in the work of photographers and filmmakers as well as cabaret performance by drag artists.

Keywords:   Special Period, Tourism, Prostitution/jineterismo, Drag shows, Queerness

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