It is important to appreciate the nuances that different customs on both sides of the Atlantic give to words. ‘Trans’, for example, the Argentine and trans writer Camila Sosa Villada (41 years old) will never use that word literary although his celebrated book ‘The evil ones’ gave the starting shot to the tendency to make the phenomenon visible in literature. That novel showered her with great awards and made her compete alongside Colm Toibin, Karl Ove Knausgard and Jonathan Franzen for the prestigious Dublin Literary Award last year.
From Córdoba, Argentina, his hometown, Sosa Villada claims the term ‘transvestite‘ which has, he says, other connotations. “In Latin America we have always said transvestites, the term trans was decided in Europe. I don’t know who did it. Maybe Paul B. Preciado? -he jokes- (actually it was the German-American doctor Harry Benjamin in the 1940s). For Sosa the issue comes from even further away: “They ignore a nomenclature that already founded the entire world because transvestites existed before the Spanish arrived, among the Mapuches, the Incas and the Mayans, and we are now regardless of whether we have or not breasts and vaginas. Furthermore, the word is loaded with images such as the night, poverty, clothes, clients, crimes, rejection. Trans It seems to me like a false identity born from a cabbage”.
The trap of feelings
The novel that followed ‘The Bad Ones’, this ‘Thesis on a domestication which now publishes Tusquets, tells the sentimental trap in which a renowned actress is trapped, determined to star in a new version of the charismatic ‘The Human Voice’, by Jean Cocteau. The transvestite actress has built an exemplary family, with a brilliant and homosexual lawyer as a husband and an adopted child in need of retrovirals. The trio forms a model worthy of being photographed in full color, until she finally perceives the danger, the domestication. “A person’s moment of grace is when they discover the links of a chain that enslaves them and there they have the choice of whether to remain tied or break them. It’s what the ‘Blade Runner’ replicants do and that’s what I faced when I realized that as an actress myself -Sosa is also a playwright and performer- I was going to be relegated in a world in which we can be guests but never protagonists”.
The author, who confesses her fear of starting a family, is quite allergic to conventional marriage. “My last partner broke up when he tried to introduce me to his cousins. I know I wasn’t fair but I’m not interested in a relationship that doesn’t contain an experience worth living and writing about,” she explains, adding that the most feared word of him is “suffocation”, fear of being chained and caged. And a good part of the tasks in the family cage have to do with care, the condition of which Sosa specifies. “The trap is to turn care into an act of love, and that is where women and transvestites stand to lose. When in reality they are a responsibility, a duty that has to be shared and equal, it should not cost one more than the other. Putting the emphasis on love is very dangerous.”
Milei and the psychopathic conception
When asked how it is affecting, LGTBI collective the rise of Milei, a rise that in Europe is perceived as ominous, Sosa smiles bitterly. “It’s true, it’s ominous. People are afraid, the old man, the settled merchant and the street vendor. There is a psychopathic conception about who will be next affected by a new measure. The worst thing that is happening is inflation and we are all involved there. Now, I am surprised by the number of faggots, lesbians and transvestites who support Milei. ¿Why does your world seem attractive and fair to you? I can not understand it. I imagine there is an answer but I won’t give it, I’ll leave that to the sociologists. The only thing I can think of is that the time has come for everyone, cis and trans, to be gullible and cretins.”
Meanwhile, the author is somewhat ashamed to say that this crazy Argentina causes her more desire to write. And she does not conceive of writing if it is not the daughter of chaos: “I know well what that is because I grew up in the 90s and this is a world that resembles me. It is the world of my childhood and adolescence where everything was dangerous and looting and violence were daily occurrences. In recent times I perceive a different climate. Before I went unnoticed on the street, now many people see me again as a danger. I know what I’m saying is horrible, but that’s an incentive for me as an author. Who is interested in books by happy writers?