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social sciences

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Latina/Latino Americans  
page: 1  2  3  

While GALA tried to carry out co-gender organizing, it was not successful in creating a safe space for most lesbian women. Some lesbian Latinas and gay Latinos worked instead in multiracial coalitions, such as San Francisco's Third World Gay Caucus, or in lesbian and feminist organizations.

Glbtq Latinas and Latinos announced their presence nationally at the historic 1979 March on Washington. Coalitions from Texas, California, and the East Coast--together with representatives from Latin America--convened days before the March at Howard University to participate in the Third World Gay Conference.

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In the 1980s numerous Latina/Latino organizations formed throughout the U.S., often as a response to the AIDS crisis. While San Francisco's GALA had disappeared by 1983, Los Angeles's GLLU (Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos) formed in 1981, and a subcommittee, LU (Lesbianas Unidas), formed in 1983. LU became an independent group in 1984.

Also by 1984, Denver was home to Ambiente Latino (Latinos in the life) and Las Mujeres Alegres (Gay Women), while Houston hosted a Gay Hispanic Caucus. In New York, a group of Latina lesbian friends created "Las Buenas Amigas" (Good Women Friends) in November 1986. The organization emerged from the African-American lesbian organization "Soul Sisters," which had welcomed Latinas. Many of these and other organizations, including San Francisco's Mujerío (Gathering of Women), which was active in the late 1980s and early 1990s, organized transnationally with glbtq activists in Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and elsewhere in Latin America.

Beginning in 1987 in Mexico, Latin American and Caribbean lesbian feminists have come together throughout the hemisphere for their "Encuentros de Lesbianas Feministas de Latinoamérica y el Caribe" (Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Lesbian Gatherings). Emerging from earlier feminist gatherings, these encuentros have facilitated transnational dialogue and organizing to address the needs and challenges of lesbians throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

The meetings, which have also included Latinas from the U.S., have debated the significance of class and racial differences, including the relative forms of economic privilege for U.S.-based attendees, but also the assumptions that Latin American lesbians make of their counterparts in the U.S.

The Washington, D.C.-based LLEGÓ (National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization) also held regular international encuentros or gatherings from the 1990s through 2004, when financial and administrative controversies led to its demise.

In recent years local and regional groups have been effective in forging political and cultural visibility for glbtq Latinas and Latinos, usually with transnational links. In Chicago, a small group of 10 Latinas gathered in July 1995 to form a support group for lesbian, bisexual, and questioning women, naming themselves "Amigas Latinas" (Latina Friends). Since then, it has grown to become a large organization. Also in Chicago, for over a decade ALMA (the Association of Latino Men for Action) has provided educational support and social services to queer Latinos.

In Texas, Austin's ALLGO (Austin Latino/Latina Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization), founded in 1985, works toward social change through progressive community organizing, promoting queer Latina and Latino culture, and encouraging artistic expression. Today it is the longest running queer organization of color in the U.S.

In California, various organizations, including Los Angeles' queer Latina women's collective that publishes the magazine Tongues and San Francisco's sex-positive, multigender HIV agency Proyecto ContraSIDA Por Vida (Project against AIDS, for Life), provide cultural and political outreach to the state's multi-lingual, immigrant, and native Latina and Latino populations. In 1993 in New York, a small group of Latinas and Latinos founded LLANY (Latinas and Latinos de Ambiente/New York, or Latina/os in the Life), which focuses on the social and cultural needs of glbtq Latina/o Americans in the city and the tri-state area.

In all these locations, women and men are charting new trajectories and challenging superficial and stereotypical depictions of "exotic" Latino men and "passive" Latina women. Latina and Latino glbtq communities in the U.S. pursue multiple visions, diverse politics, and a variety of struggles for identity and liberation. These efforts, conducted in English, Spanish, "Spanglish," and bilingually, and on both individual and collective levels, have helped shape the meaning of what it means to be queer and Latina and Latino in the U.S. and transnationally.

Horacio N. Roque Ramírez

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social sciences >> Overview:  Argentina

Although Argentina recently became the first Latin American country to attain marriage equality nationally, the country has a long history of defining itself in terms of masculinity and in opposition to sexual deviancy.

social sciences >> Overview:  Brazil

A notably diverse country, Brazil is also home to one of the world's most dynamic glbtq political movements.

social sciences >> Overview:  Costa Rica

Costa Rica has recently become known for its tolerance toward glbtq people, and its friendly, "live-and-let-live" attitude in sexual matters.

social sciences >> Overview:  Cuba

Although one cannot speak of a gay community in Cuba, one can speak of a homoerotic environment for meeting and socializing in Havana that is constantly moving and reshaping itself.

social sciences >> Overview:  El Salvador

Although there have been recent attempts to organize glbtq people for political and social action in El Salvador, the country's history of homophobic repression continues.

social sciences >> Overview:  Guatemala

Although glbtq organizations have emerged in Guatemala, hate crimes against homosexuals continue to be a serious problem.

social sciences >> Overview:  Honduras

In the wake of prejudice and violence, queer activists in the tropical nation of Honduras have taken courageous action in the struggle for human rights and dignity.

arts >> Overview:  Latina/Latino American Art

Latina/Latino lesbian and gay artists often confront, with a peculiarly personal urgency, the crucial issues of gender, sexuality, and acceptance that have obsessed American culture generally in the past several decades.

literature >> Overview:  Latina Literature

Latina lesbian literature is a fast-growing, vibrant, and diverse literary tradition that offers readers innovative models for creating alliances among diverse peoples.

literature >> Overview:  Latino Literature

Latino gay men have published novels, poetry, drama, and essays that deal directly with gay themes, but the cultural forces of machismo and Catholicism have slowed the development of a Latino gay identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Mexico

Although Mexico has had a long history of homosexual activity that began before the Conquest, its Latin American machismo has problematized the acceptance of glbtq people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Miami and Key West

The site of contentious battles for glbtq rights, Miami is home to a vibrant glbtq community; as is Key West, which has a long tradition of celebrating diversity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Nicaragua

Thanks to the valiant struggle of activists to counter a long tradition of intolerance and machismo, Nicaragua now has a more visible glbtq community than ever before.

social sciences >> Overview:  Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

Although the islands of the Caribbean are renowned for their pleasant tropical climate, the social climate for glbtq people is not always inviting and is sometimes dangerous.

literature >> Anzaldúa, Gloria

American Latina lesbian editor and writer Gloria Anzaldúa connected racism and homophobia to posit a political queerness that interconnects with all struggles against oppression.

literature >> Manrique, Jaime

Versatile Colombian-born author Jaime Manrique has written novels, short stories, poetry, and works of nonfiction with gay themes.

literature >> Moraga, Cherríe

In her own works, Cherríe Moraga defines her experience as a Chicana lesbian; and in her capacity as editor/publisher, she provides a forum for traditionally silenced lesbians of color.

literature >> Nava, Michael

Mystery writer Michael Nava has increasingly been recognized as an important novelist whose mature work transcends the limited expectations of a popular and highly specialized genre.

literature >> Rechy, John

In his novels about hustling, preeminently City of Night and Numbers, John Rechy moves from the world of homosexual behavior into the world of gay identity.

social sciences >> Rivera, Sylvia

A legendary veteran of the Stonewall Riots, Sylvia Rivera is notable for helping to spark the event that ushered in the modern-day Gay Rights Movement.

literature >> Rodriguez, Richard

Essayist and memoirist Richard Rodriguez, perhaps the most widely read of Latino-American authors, positions himself as an outsider in America, not only because of his ethnicity, but also because of his sexuality.

social sciences >> Romero, Anthony

In 2001, Anthony D. Romero became the first Latino and first openly gay man to lead the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation's leading public interest law firm.

social sciences >> Sarria, José

José Sarria, a San Francisco singer, drag performer, and activist, exemplified gay pride before the phrase was invented.


Aponte-Parés, Luis. "Outside/In: Crossing Queer and Latino Boundaries." Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York. Agustín Laó-Montes and Arlene Dávila, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. 365-85.

Cantú, Lionel, Jr. "De Ambiente: Queer Tourism and the Shifting Boundaries of Mexican Male Sexualities." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 8.1-2 (2002): 139-66.

Cortez, Jaime, ed. Virgins, Guerrillas & Locas: Gay Latinos Writing about Love. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 1999.

Díaz-Cotto, Juanita. "Lesbian-Feminist Activism and Latin American Feminist Encuentros." Sexual Politics, Queer Politics. Mark Blasius, ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. 73-95.

Leyva, Yolanda Chávez. "Breaking the Silence: Putting Latina Lesbian History at the Center." The New Lesbian Studies: Into the Twenty-First Century. Bonnie Zimmerman and Toni A. H. McNaron, eds. New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1996. 145-52.

Mogrovejo, Norma. Un Amor que Se Atrevió a Decir Su Nombre: la Lucha de las Lesbianas y su Relación con los Movimientos Homosexual y Feminista en América Latina. Mexico City: CDAHL and Plaza y Valdés Editores, 2000.

Moraga, Cherríe L. Loving in the War Years. Lo Que Nunca Pasó Por Sus Labios. Rev. ed. Boston: South End Press, 2000.

Negrón-Muntaner, Frances. "Twenty Years of Puerto Rican Gay Activism: An Interview with Luis 'Popo' Santiago." Radical America 25.1 (1991): 39-51.

Peña, Susana. "Visibility and Silence: Mariel and Cuban American Gay Male Experience and Representation." Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings. Eithne Luibhéid and Lionel Cantú, Jr., eds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. 125-45.

Perez, Laura M. "Go Ahead: Make My Movement." Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries & Visions. Naomi Tucker, with Liz Highleyman and Rebecca Kaplan, eds, New York: Haworth Press, 1995. 109-114.

Ramos, Juanita, ed. Compañeras: Latina Lesbians. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Retter Vargas, Yolanda. "Latinas and Latinos." Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America. Marc Stein, ed. 3 vols. New York: Charles Scribner�s Sons,/Thomson/Gale, 2004. 2: 133-144.

Rodríguez, Juana María. Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces. New York: New York University Press, 2003.

Roque Ramírez, Horacio N. "'That's My Place': Negotiating Gender, Racial, and Sexual Politics in San Francisco's Gay Latino Alliance, 1975-1983." Journal of the History of Sexuality 12.3 (April 2003): 224-258.

________. A Language of (In)Visibility: Latina and Latino LGBT Images in Spanish-Language Television and Print News Media. New York: Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: Center for the Study of Media and Society, 2003.

Rosales, Karla E., and Mary Guzmán. "Mind if I Call You Sir?: Masculinity and Gender Expression in Latina Butches and Latino Female-to-Male (FTM) Transgender Men." Video. 30 minutes. San Francisco, 2004.

Trujillo, Carla, ed. Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About. Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 1991.


    Citation Information
    Author: Roque Ramírez, Horacio N.  
    Entry Title: Latina/Latino Americans  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated December 12, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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