Before she appeared at the Teddy Awards Gala, AVIVA spoke to lesbian singer/songwriter Ochy Curiel from the Dominican Republic about her vision for the future of lesbian feminism.
AVIVA-BERLIN: You're here in Berlin for the Teddy Awards. What does it mean for you personally, to take part?
Ochy Curiel: It's important to be involved in lesbian feminist politics in many ways and art is one of the main ways to be involved. And I came here with this focus. In our time, the visual is very important and I think that cinema and movies are a very powerful way to break through for gay and lesbian politics.
AVIVA-BERLIN: You live in Mexico. How is lesbian life there? Can women life together, have children, for example?
Ochy Curiel: In Mexico as in other Latin American countries, there is a peculiar situation whereby life is marked by the Catholic church. The basis of life is the heterosexual nuclear family. There is a lot of value put on the family. It's really hard to imagine something different which is outside that. This is clear to see in social life and also in the way that people organize their material life. Mexico is one of the Latin American countries which has gained more consciousness about gay and lesbian issues. Last year in 2003, we had the first lesbian march.
AVIVA-BERLIN: How many lesbians took part?
Ochy Curiel: It was really nice because only about 500 lesbians were expected but 3,000 came. The most important aspect of this march was the political aspect. It was the answer that the lesbian women gave in response to the big gay pride in Mexico City which is very commercial and sponsored by disco owners. The women wanted to say that their sexual politics is about sexual politics and not about consumerism and going to discos. The second lesbian march will take place on March 21, 2004.
AVIVA-BERLIN: What is your vision of the future?
Ochy Curiel: The revolution! (laughs) My vision is too see a revolution where there is no sexism, no racism, no obligatory or compulsory heterosexuality. No obligations to be a mother. Where nobody is being made fun of because she is fat, or because of her skin colour. That's why I'm involved in lesbian-feminist politics.
AVIVA-BERLIN: Are you proud to be a lesbian?
Ochy Curiel: Yes and no. On the one hand I am proud to be called a lesbian and to have the identity of being a lesbian for strategical reasons. I don't only love women sexually but also the women's world in a general way, not the feminine world but the women's world. But on the other hand I only like the lesbian term for myself as a strategy in this era. I am against any kind of fixed identity and I want to deconstruct this identity of being a lesbian: It's not that the 'essential lesbian' is forever.