Power and the Gender Binary in Mayra Santos Febres' "Sirena Selena vestida de pena"

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Taylor Smith
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Mayra Santos Febres' "Sirena Selena vestida de pena" tells the story of a young man who finds the possibility of a way out of his life as a homeless transsexual prostitute by way of his special gift: an angelic singing voice. His story of transition into a professional drag performer is marked by moments in which the power differential inherent in the male-female binary comes into play to affect him with regards to his biological or presented gender. Thus, the interactions of the characters are directly influenced by the power structure of the gender binary and the binary is essential to the progression of the plot. In my investigation, I will show how the male-female binary is socially constructed, creating a power differential between men and women and how the protagonist and other drag performers depicted use the manipulation of external gender expression to gain opportunities otherwise not available as homosexual men. Presented in Spanish.