Can the Lesbian Couple Speak? Reshaping Homonormativity Through Intimate Lesbian Biographies in Portugal

According to the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map, Portugal is in the 10 th position regarding LGBT rights in Europa. Lisbon (the capital), is considered one “gay destiny”, and in Portugal the city is a migratory destiny for non-heterosexual people, not only for the job opportunities but also for the cultural life and leisure spaces it offers. Despite the legal achievements and the apparent diverse environment, that does not reflect on the societal structure, that remains very heteronormative and homophobic, not only outside urban areas but also within them, including Lisbon, especially for lesbian women. This presentation draws on life experiences of five women who live in Lisbon and who are in lesbian relationships, exclusive or not. These experiences were collected in 2015 by biographic interviews under the project INTIMATE – Citizenship, Care, and Choice: The Micro politics of Intimacy in Southern Europe, which is being developed at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra. The legal and cultural specificities of the Portuguese context must be taken into account in order to evaluate in these 5 different lives the possibilities to live life in a livable way (Butler), and once that “livable” status is achieved we must question if it is possible to speak about homonormativity (Duggan)

or not. Gayatri Spivak questioned in 1988 the possibility of the subaltern subject to speak, and today, six years after the legalization of same sex marriage in Portugal, we must question if any person in a lesbian relationship has power to speak and be heard.