It is rare to find an LGTB + work with tints of magical realism or set in a dystopia, what would you say have been your main references (cultural, literary, cinematographic) when writing the book?
I generally consume different literature than the one I write (Saramago, Camus, Lucía Berlin, Romain Gary…). I don’t have very strong influences. For example, magical realism is not among my favorite genres; I didn’t even read One Hundred Years of Solitude. However, there is a movie that always comes to mind when I think of my novel: The Possible Lives of Mr. Nobody. I think they are similar in structure, time and strength.
A year ago we had an interesting debate in ‘El Asombrario’ about LGTB + literature, in which several Spanish writers and editors participated. You have published your first novel with Dos Bigotes, one of the publishers that is doing the most for the visibility of the group. What is LGTB + literature for you, how would you define it?
It is a mirror of our reality, which is much more diverse than what is shown to us in almost all the media (television series, television commercials, children’s literature, family films …). LGTB + literature shows reality as it is, plural –very plural–, and not as one sees it or wishes to see it. You cannot make a portrait of a society if you put aside the stories of minorities. If literature were a world map, LGTB + writings would be the links between countries; its isthmus and canals; the active volcanoes that, even being smaller, ask for more visibility than the inactive ones that long ago had their glory, even if they are smaller.
To what extent do you think that having a sexual orientation other than heterosexual affects success in the literary or artistic world? Do you think there is still discrimination in relation to gender, identity or affective-sexual orientation in the artistic world?
I do not think it affects in a negative way, although since publication there is a question that from time to time has haunted my head: will there be readers who take the book with less desire for thinking that they will not be able to empathize with a love story between two mens? It would not be my case. For example, the movie story I was most excited about was Portrait of a Woman on Fire.
I couldn’t close without throwing you a question that I always ask all the people I interview: with a far-right party present in almost all the institutions, and with the media serving as a loudspeaker, do you think that LGBT + people are in greater danger than before? How do you see the situation in France, where you live?
Yes, we are more in danger than before. Of course! Because with the ultra-right asleep, the prejudiced one would not throw a host at you on a bad day; but now, I’m afraid he feels supported to give it from time to time. Regarding France, I think it is a country with more prejudices towards the LGTB + collective than Spain. Perhaps the sambenito of “heterosexual seducer French” is not so easy to uproot in the collective subconscious. But it is only a slight impression, that I have not been in the country for a long time.
Carlos Asensio (Mallorca, 1986) has a degree in Sociology and Political Science, as well as an expert in feminism and sexual diversity. He has published the poetry books Arder o quemar (Maclein and Parker, 2019) and Stop being (Chiado, 2017), and his poetry has also appeared in several literary magazines such as Maremágnum, OcultaLit or Triadæ Magazine. In 2018 he co-founded the publishing house Circo de Extravíos, whose first volume is the illustrated poetry anthology Amores Liquidos (2019). Carlos collaborates with media such as Diario16, El Asombrario, 20 Minutos or OcultaLit.
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