This article uses the life of Irina Layevska Echeverría Gaitán, a transgender and disability rights activist from Mexico, as a lens to examine the circulation and appropriation of the discursive New Man and the figure of Che Guevara by a broad set of actors from leftist revolutionaries to sexual rights activists in Mexico. Grappling with questions of temporality and intersectionality throughout, it follows her struggles to amend revolutionary discourses with her personal life despite her exclusion from normative models of the revolutionary figure. It argues that those excluded from the heteronormative able-bodied ideal of militancy—gay men, women, trans folk and those with disabilities—used the futurist, universal, and self-developmental aspects of the New Man to reject exclusionary leftist politics. Furthermore, the New Man as an aspirational yet abstract goal enabled the formulation of radically transgressive subject positions and provided a discourse with which to construct a militant identity that was inclusive and oppositional to the masculinist and ableist revolution.

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