Natasha Kellem's Minoritarian Liberalism

  • Moises Lino E Silva
Keywords: liberalism, queer, favela, travesti, Brazil


Normative liberalism has promoted the freedom of privileged subjects, those entitled to rights – usually white, adult, heteronormative, and bourgeois – at the expense of marginalized groups, such as Black people, children, LGBTQ people, and slum dwellers. In this ethnographic analysis of Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I explore what happens when liberalism is challenged by people whose lives are impaired by normative understandings of liberty. I call such marginalized visions of freedom “minoritarian liberalism,” a concept that stands in for overlapping, alternative modes of freedom. In this piece, I introduce Natasha Kellem, a charismatic self-declared travesti (a term used in Latin America to indicate a specific form of female gender construction opposite to the sex assigned at birth). Through interconnected experiences, I offer ethnographic evidence of non-normative routes to freedom for those seeking liberties against the backdrop of capitalist exploitation, transphobia, racism, and other patterns of domination.


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How to Cite
Lino E Silva, M. (2023). Natasha Kellem’s Minoritarian Liberalism . Lambda Nordica, 28(4), 103-116.
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