Latina/os are currently the largest minority population in the United States. They are also one of the fastest growing. Yet, we have very limited research and understanding of their sexualities. Instead, stereotypical images flourish even though scholars have challenged the validity and narrowness of these images and the lack of attention to the larger social context. Gathering the latest empirical work in the social and behavioral sciences, this reader offers us a critical lens through which to understand these images and the social context framing Latina/os and their sexualities.
Situated at the juncture of Latina/o studies and sexualities studies, Latina/o Sexualities provides a single resource that addresses the current state of knowledge from a multidisciplinary perspective. Contributors synthesize and critique the literature and carve a separate space where issues of Latina/o sexualities can be explored given the limitations of prevalent research models. This work compels the current wave in sexuality studies to be more inclusive of ethnic minorities and sets an agenda that policy makers and researchers will find invaluable.
Tacit Subjects is a pioneering analysis of how gay immigrant men of color negotiate race, sexuality, and power in their daily lives. Drawing on ethnographic research with Dominicans in New York City, Carlos Ulises Decena explains that while the men who shared their life stories with him may self-identify as gay, they are not the liberated figures of traditional gay migration narratives. Decena contends that in migrating to Washington Heights, a Dominican enclave in New York, these men moved from one site to another within an increasingly transnational Dominican society. Many of them migrated and survived through the resources of their families and broader communities. Explicit acknowledgment or discussion of their homosexuality might rupture these crucial social and familial bonds. Yet some of Decena’s informants were sure that their sexuality was tacitly understood by their family members or others close to them. Analyzing their recollections about migration, settlement, masculinity, sex, and return trips to the Dominican Republic, Decena describes how the men at the center of Tacit Subjects contest, reproduce, and reformulate Dominican identity in New York. Their stories reveal how differences in class, race, and education shape their relations with fellow Dominicans. They also offer a view of “gay New York” that foregrounds the struggles for respect, belonging, and survival within a particular immigrant community.