Building on recent scholarship that has problematized the evidentiary status of archived sources and created new methods and analytical categories for reading sex and gender in those sources, this essay considers the case of Mariano Aguilera from mid-eighteenth-century New Spain. Raised as a girl, Aguilera upon reaching adulthood petitioned ecclesiastical authorities to order a physical inspection of his body so that he could be declared a man and marry Clara Ángela López. The essay shows how both abjection and criminality—or a discourse of “queerness”—led Aguilera to be exiled from his community, denied his petition, and prohibited from having any contact with López. The essay opens further questions about the meanings of hermaphroditism and androgyny in the Atlantic world, the ways in which they shaped medical and legal discourses on sodomy in metropolitan and colonial contexts, and the role of doctors and surgeons in legal cases involving queer bodies and lives.

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