SWINGS AND SCALES OF DEMOCRACY: THE “TRANSGENDER EPIDEMIC” AND RESISTANCE TO ANTIGENDERISM
ABSTRACT Brazilian democracy moves like a pendulum: from time to time its limits are expanded or retracted (Avritzer 2019). After a virulent dictatorial period, re-democratization was strengthened in the first decade of the 21st century. Public policies for the enfranchisement of the LGBT+ population were particularly important in this process. The rise of bolsonarism has been pushing the democratic pendulum back to its extreme opposite. This, however, does not go unchallenged. Against this backdrop, we analyze the online circulation of a poster for a lecture about a “transgender epidemic”, which was due to take place the Legislative Assembly of Porto Alegre in March 2020. Such textual disputes may help us reconceptualize the current state of Brazilian democracy as a friction between distinct scalar projects (Carr and Lempert, 2016). The textual trajectories we analyze suggest that the back and forth movement of democracy is not linear as Avritzer (2019) seems to assume. The illiberal retraction of recent years coexists with values forged in periods of democratic expansion, which explains the fact that the lecture was canceled due to online protests. Such resistance suggests that de-democratizing scalar projects are neither homogeneous nor totalizing, which allows new political collectivities to contest attempts to disenfranchise them.