Gender Construction, Kinship and Mourning in Paris Is Burning

Raquel Parrine About the author

Abstract:

Jennie Livingston’s film Paris Is Burning has raised criticism and applaud since its opening, in 1990. Its portrayal of the Harlem balls in the 1980’s, the approach to its unique economy of gender construction and the negotiations it operates in the intersection of ethnicity and sexuality have inspired readings from the black activism, the post-structuralism, and, more recently, from trans studies. But, beyond the problem of appropriation and authorship, there are layers to the documentary that propose a argument about the construction of kinship, of community and agency of those marginalized subjects and their resilience in facing gender violence. Although the balls produce spectacle, the movie communicates dignity and operates in the viewers the experience of mourning, which creates a shared community of difference.

Keywords:
Documentary; Transsexuality; Queer of Color Critique; Queer Latinos; Gender Politics

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