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Intimate Activism:

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The Struggle for Sexual Rights in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua

I reflect on the travails of queer characters in a hugely successful telenovela and trace the ideological tensions within the struggle for sexual rights and those engaged in “becoming” lesbianas and homosexuales in contemporary Nicaragua. Based on my research in Nicaragua I have been able to serve as an expert witness for asylum trials in the U.S. for Nicaraguan and other Central American nationals.

Following more than a year of field research, in Intimate Activism I examine the many dimensions where activism occurs, from mass-media outlets and public protests to meetings of clandestine consciousness-raising groups.

Intimate Activism is the story of how Nicaraguan sexual-rights activists helped to overturn the most repressive antisodomy law in the Americas. In the book, I work through how activists balanced global discourses like human rights and identity politics with the  contingencies of daily life in Nicaragua and with the legacy of a widely-respected socialist revolution. Initially spurred by the antisodomy law, activists who were originally committed to rectifying the legal codes, found themselves more deeply committed to transforming Nicaraguan values and cultural expectations more broadly.

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