Sunday, 19th of January at 15h in Klit
Location: Tîrgșor Women Penitentiary, România
This is a photo-reportage of queer/ genderbending people in romanian women-only prison. Degetoaica would have a rather awkward translation as part of the prison culture of “girlboys”. So, only with reservations termed girlboys are usually described as women who, during prison detention, assume a male identity. They go by their male names and male pronouns, that even the guards acknowledge. They have “wives” who tidy up, do the laundry and wash the dishes for them. Girlboys protect them, fulfill their emotional needs and offer them sexual pleasure. They clinch their fists and demand respect. Out of the prison some of these women are married, have children, assumed/complied to a cis identification. Many keep returning to the prison. The situation with prison staff is very ambiguous and some of them have complained that having had assumed this “degetoaica” identity, it affected and decreased their chances to get an earlier release.
These are declared non lesbian relationships that some have only in detention. Other, continue their relationships after they are released. Most of them are old offenders. Almost all have suffered sexual abuse. One of the individual stories is of a woman who became a degetoaica in prison, there began a relationship with a woman, continued their relationship after being freed and now they are again imprisoned together, for committing a theft [also together].
Our sunday presenter Rox, tackles on this most interesting phenomenon further on: “Btw, “degetoaice” comes from “deget” which means a finger. maybe i could somehow translate the term as: “big woman-finger”, “big finger-woman” if that makes any sense? One of them was saying how between the degetoaica and their female partner, the roles are fixed, and only the degetoaica is allowed to take the “active role” during sex. I am quoting: “only the “boy” is allowed to touch her girlfriend, without the latter being active in any way” and “the difference between us and lesbians is that they use their tongues on one another,”” Our comrade Infoshop activist and gender student from Romania will be willing to discuss and answer our questions on this topic.
Additionally to this exceptional, short photo reportage we will screen another documentary film, from different cultural context and will try to reflect on gender/sexuality/race (class) of them in critical dialogue.
The AGGRESSIVES, 2005
By: Daniel Peddle
another gender bending variant of female sexual/racial negotiation in harsh social environments. Remember the gay drag ball culture in Paris is burning, from beginning of the 90ies by which we were able to learn on performativity of gender? Could AG be considered a masculinity without men, as Halberstam phrases it?
“Aggressive” is the term used by women of color, much like the way “butch” is used to describe some lesbian women. (In fact, the only thing the film didn’t do which I would have liked is mention the use of the word, how it came about, how it’s different or perceived as different from butch by the women who use it to describe themselves.) Effectively “aggressive” describes women who are more masculine in both appearance, physique, and attitude. Some of them identify as trans, yet many were also very clear about the fact that they are women and lesbians.
The film told the stories of five different aggressive women over a five-year period. One was Korean, the others of African-American descent. They talked about who they liked to date (lesbians for the most part, though one also dated transwomen, and got fed up with dating them by the film’s end, and wanted a “real girl” for a girlfriend instead); how they experienced their identities, and what it was about them that was masculine, and how they made it work. (from Helen Boyd blog post on the Aggressives)
Join us for screening and discussion, on Sunday, 19th of January at 15h in Klit.