Several thousand students joined small clusters of soldiers, workers, and others in revolutionary opposition to the Brazilian civilian-military dictatorship that came to power in 1964 and controlled the government for two decades. Operating underground, these left-wing activists engaged in diverse efforts to organize an effective guerrilla opposition to the authoritarian regime. Within their ranks, some militants who had homosexual desires faced a hegemonic culture of the left that considered same-sex sexuality a reflection of “bourgeois decadence,” an immoral aberration, and an affront to proper revolutionary behavior. This article explores how leftist Brazilians with homoerotic desires negotiated norms of compulsory heterosexuality and constructions of revolutionary masculinity in the 1960s and 1970s as they lived in the underground, among members of different political organizations while imprisoned, or in political exile.
I would like to thank Moshe Sluhovsky for his valuable editorial assistance.