Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Katie Acosta Lecture: "How Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Navigate Interracial/Interethnic Same-Sex Relationships"

October 4th, 2010
6:00 - 7:30 PM

Location
Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Room 203
Tulane University
Uptown Campus

“Mami, Soy Lesbiana y Mi Pareja es Morena”: How Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Navigate Interracial/Interethnic Same-Sex Relationships

Abstract: In choosing to enter relationships with a person of the same gender, sexually nonconforming women often face disapproval from the outside world as well as from their own families. Disdain for these relationships can be further exacerbated when the couple does not share a racial or ethnic identity. This paper examines the tensions that sexually nonconforming Latinas report experiencing within their interracial or inter-ethnic partnerships. The data is based on 40 in-depth interviews with lesbian, bisexual and queer Latinas who live in the Northeastern United States. These women have found themselves in relationships with white women, African American women and other Latinas with different nationalities. These partnerships yielded unique tensions for the participants, resulting in their feeling torn by the conflicting needs of their partners and their families of origin. In this paper, I discuss the barriers to intimacy that sexually nonconforming women report experiencing on account of cultural clashes and familial rejections. I document how issues of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality play out in the family and how the burdens arising from these intersections influence the respondents’ interpersonal relationships. I also explore the complex dynamics that shape how families react when their female loved ones decide to enter relationships with other women many of whom are of a different racial or ethnic background. In doing so, I contribute to our understanding of how Latina/o families handle different levels of non conformity as women transgress both sexual and racial boundaries.

Dr. Acosta is an Assistant Professor in Tulane’s Department of Sociology and is a core faculty member of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut and joined the Tulane faculty in 2009.

This event is sponsored by the Multicultural Affairs Office and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies as well as Cultural Awareness Planning Committee. It is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Desirée Anderson via email at danders7@tulane.edu or by phone at 504-865-5181.

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This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment.

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