The literary works of Rita Indiana (1977) and Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro (1970) are recognised for exposing and challenging hegemonic ideas of identity, sexuality and power. The transgression of boundaries appears time and again in the fiction of both writers, whether these be boundaries of sexual or gender identity, desire, geography, time or even life and death. Using Rita Indiana’s novel La mucama de Omicunlé (2015) and Arroyo’s collection of short stories Transmutadxs (2016), the authors’ representations of such transgressions are the focus of this essay.

Further to addressing similar themes in their texts, both Rita Indiana and Arroyo Pizarro were born in the 1970s in the Hispanic Caribbean (the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, respectively). While the cultural contexts of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are not identical, there are notable parallels. One prominent example is their shared history of colonialism, and the subsequent impacts of colonial dynamics on mainstream attitudes towards gender relations, race and the LGBT+ communities, amongst others. Both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are also considered peripheral in the literary world, and even within Latin American literature. In her article Las especificidades del feminismo lésbico decolonial caribeño bajo el prismo de la literatura: los casos de Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro y Rita Indiana Hernández, Sophie Large observes that ‘[e]l Caribe – aparte de Cuba – es escasamente estudiado por los especialistas de América Latina con respecto a otras zonas del continente.’ (Large, 2017).

In this article we draw on existing literary analysis of the authors, queer theory, and feminist theory to develop an interdisciplinary approach to the texts; sources include Sara Ahmed, Monique Wittig, Sophie Large and Fernanda Bustamante.