Thursday, April 23, 2009

Banco Provincia commercial

This phenomenal ad just appeared from Banco Provincia in Argentina:

It is pretty astonishing, not just for the emotional impact, but for the powerful and ineluctable ways in which gender, sexuality, and capital become affixed within the rhetoric of the commercial. There's the notion that Banco Provincia, in addition to simply acknowledging its transgender clients and employees, is actually exposing a kind of investment within the transgender community. "Tenés una vida, tenés un banco. You have a life, you have a bank." Life and bank are barely divided by a comma, which is like an articulated border. And the Argentinian "tenes," from "vos," is very specific, denoting a grammatical and national community: Argentinian transgendered people. (I didn't notice this at first, but my boyfriend pointed it out.)

Even if this is capitalistic mimesis in order to wring dollars from all sorts of overlapping liberal and queer communities, one has to admit, it's elegant. What Latin American queer histories, ontologies, and horizons of slanted subjecthood does this message of inclusion actually emerge from? What struggles does it resurrect and mediatize for Argentina in particular as a country?

There has to be a way to link this, even problematically, with the legal debate over funding transgender surgery in Alberta. And why shouldn't Latin American media influence provincial Canadian law, given the audiovisual currents that link both continents together already?

Ultimately, the battle over GRS in Alberta has the possibility--the strong possibility--of becoming a legal challenge at the level of the Supreme Court of Canada. And that could mean the national funding of transgender surgeries across the country. Even if Alberta activates its notwithstanding clause, declaring the nationwide ordinance to be ultra vires to existing provincial legislation, it can only stall the bill for a maximum of five years. Which means that, in 10 years or less, Canada could offer funding for transgender surgery, including pre- and post-operative social programming and counseling services, as a federal health benefit. This would be a first step in redefining the parameters of sexual and gendered citizenship within Canada, alongside the work already being done by trans and gender-variant activists around the world.

I hope.


rhbee said...

It is late enough at night here that I'll have to wait until morning to view the commercial but I do have a question I'll ask now. How did an Argentine commercial lead you to discuss transgender issues in Cananda?

Jes Battis said...

media exposure is usually the best way to fight for a human-rights issue, and Canada certainly has cultural and audiovisual ties to Latin America

rhbee said...

Wow, just got the time to sit down and watch the ad and then the followup vids provided on youtube. I am happily amazed. I quess Priscilla and her desert caravan had a deeper impact than I thought/hoped.

Now since I am here, tell how to get your blog via email, por favor?

Jes Battis said...

i am a luddite and not sure how that function works, but i'll check!

rhbee said...

Since your on Blogger just go to your layout and ad a gadget. You should find the subscribe by email button there.

Jes Battis said...

i think that worked