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Sexual Citizenship: Articulating Citizenship, Identity, and the Pursuit of the Good Life in Urban Brazil



In this article, I examine a citizenship course held by a lesbian rights organization in Campinas, Brazil, and argue that claims for citizenship may go well beyond claims for civil rights and legal recognition and, instead, revolve around full, participatory inclusion in public life. I further argue that social actors who demand full citizenship may at the same time place demands on themselves to become what constitutes, in their view, “ideal citizens,” thereby neutralizing, at least in theory, the possibility of exclusion. In probing the understandings of the ideal lesbian citizen that surfaced during the course, including those that connect full citizenship with notions of the “good life,” I suggest both that these women are simultaneously capitulating to hegemonic cultural conceptions of propriety, and rewriting those conceptions by refusing the role of marginalized “other” in Brazilian society.[citizenship, identity, sexuality, activism, Brazil]