Melina Juárez, University of New Mexico
“Queering Latinidad: Latinx Politics Beyond Nativity”
The process of Latinizing a tremendously heterogeneous group of people involves the softening or blurring of the edges of differences among them. This blurring has led to the erasure or subversion (intended or not) of important facets of identity including indigeneity, language, ethnicity, history, and culture. Along with this, and the focus of this project, is the erasure (again intended or not) of sexuality and how this subversion of identities impacts the way we view populations for policymaking ends. Understanding how sexuality is subverted within Latinidad also allows us to understand power dynamics within the Latinx population that affect facets of politics and policy such as what issues are considered salient for Latinxs and policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.
This project approaches Latinidad through an intersectional framework that also considers the role of institutional forces in driving and shaping identity and peoples’ relations vis-a-vis the state and its policies. The proposed dissertation project is a continuation of a current New Mexico-based study on the social determinants of LGBTQI health and well-being. Survey results from this pilot study found that almost 60% of LGBTQI Latinx respondents said they “sometimes” or “always” felt uncomfortable around other people of their own race or ethnicity because of their LGBTQI status. This finding led to the following research questions:
1. Why do LGBTQI Latinxs feel uncomfortable around other Latinxs?
2. Are there differences in public opinion or political behavior among Latinxs based on sexual orientations?
3. Has subverting sexuality as a key facet of Latinidad affected public policymaking for this population?
Learn more about the “Queering Latinadad Project” here.