With his volume of short stories) Volmink (1981), Hennie Aucamp became the first
Afrikaans writer to reflect on the implications of the identity construction promoted by the
gay liberation movement since the 1960s. It is Aucamp's conviction that gay writing should not restrict itself to the world of homoeroticism; gay writers should also devote themselves to an exploration of the human condition. Through a critical reading of the story "La Divina en die cowboy" from Volmink, this article examines Aucamp's views on identity. For La Divina her identity as a drag queen is a deliberate and spectacular performance. Her selfconscious staging of a feminine identity becomes a parody of the artificiality of all gender identities. As Judith Butler (1993) has demonstrated, hegemonic heterosexuality is also characterised by constant and repeated efforts to imitate its own idealised images through practices of the body. In spite of her affiliation with the gay subculture and her hyperfeminine identity, La Divina in Aucamp's story appropriates the violent practices of a totalising masculinity when she seduces and stabs a "cowboy" during sexual intercourse. Through La Divina Aucamp expresses his scepticism of identity practices and questions the merits of identity construction as a suitable strategy for the emancipation of homosexuals.