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Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Latin America$
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Zeb Tortorici

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288140

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288140.001.0001

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Prosecuting Female-Female Sex in Bourbon Quito

Prosecuting Female-Female Sex in Bourbon Quito

Chapter:
(p.120) 6 Prosecuting Female-Female Sex in Bourbon Quito
Source:
Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Latin America
Author(s):

Chad Thomas Black

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520288140.003.0007

This chapter presents two cases of female sodomitical relationships to highlight how the “unnatural” female sodomy—though underreported and frequently dismissed by colonial authorities—was not entirely ignored by colonial society. The defendants in the two cases were denounced, investigated, and tried based on neighborhood and familial suspicions and gossips. Evidence for the allegations was completely circumstantial and broken into two categories: unnatural gender inversions and general moral turpitude. In addition, the two cases presented “penetrational ambiguities.” These factors led the magistrates to prove the defendants’ unnatural acts by examining their gendered behaviors as well as moral depravity.

Keywords:   sodomitical relationships, colonial society, female sodomy, magistrates, gendered behaviors, moral depravity

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