Transgressing the Law: Rethinking the Brazilian LGBT Movement and its Relationship with the Law

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen; Lunds universitet/Juridiska fakulteten

Abstract: The Brazilian LGBT movement has established in the last decades a strategy of action based on the achievement of social transformations through law. The struggle for human rights has become the focal point of the LGBT agenda in the country. For this reason, the linkages between the Brazilian LGBT movement and the law have multiplied. Having the objective of reflecting on the articulations arising from the Brazilian LGBT movement / law relationship, this research aimed at analyzing the contradictions and limitations emerging from this conjunction, as well as reflecting on new strategic forms to apply the law. In order to develop this analysis, a perspective of Cultural Studies and poststructuralist philosophy was applied. The identities, classifications extremely important for the composition of new social movements, were understood in this work as socially constructed elements and necessarily linked to the existence of a difference. The law, on the same note, was interpreted as a historical institution detached from any metaphysical perspective. From the application of these definitions, it was verified throughout this thesis that the struggle for rights of the Brazilian LGBT movement often causes hierarchies within the community itself, since the rights achieved are not enjoyed in a homogeneous way by all its members. This situation divides opinions: there are those who argue that the acquisition of rights necessarily leads to a social transformation; and, in opposition to this line of thinking, there are those who perceive law as a normalizing entity par excellence, being therefore an institution unable to perform structure changes in society. Taking these two views into account, this research was in line with a different perspective, namely: the possibility of using law as a strategic tool. Through the application of concepts such as “resistance” and “transgression”, it was argued in this study that social transformations through law are possible when performed from the inside out. In this sense, an agenda that focuses on the achievement of rights as the ultimate goal is not enough. Nevertheless, the application of law as a way of demonstrating its own inconsistencies seems to be a powerful weapon to destabilize the powers and knowledges that reproduce inequalities among dissonant bodies.

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