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Latinas/os on the East Coast

A Critical Reader

Series:

Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya

Latinas/os on the East Coast: A Critical Reader provides a comprehensive overview of established and contemporary research and essays written about communities that represent the Latina/o diaspora on the East Coast of the United States. Collectively, it contributes to the historical, cultural, political, and economic dynamics that affect the Latinas/os’ lived experience of the country. Analyzed through an interdisciplinary lens, this reader offers a critical examination of the policies and the practices that affect the following current and emerging themes and topics: History; Ethnicity and culture; Immigration, transnationalism, and civil rights; Education; Health; Women’s studies; Film and media studies; Queer studies; Literature; Visual and performing arts.
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
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Introduction

Extract



David William Foster

In one of Michael Nava’s detective novels featuring the gay detective Henry Rios, Rios makes it obvious to a cop, a fellow Mexican American, that he is gay. The cop’s response is, “But you’re Mexican, man.” This response points to two crucial issues in dealing with Latino queerness. The first is the belief that Latinos aren’t/can’t be queer, that queer is part of the appalling weaknesses of the Anglo social subject. The other, which follows in a concomitant fashion, is that Latino queers are invisible. Oh, to be sure there are effeminate Latino men, but do they really count? They’re probably poor souls who have been warped by contact with Anglo exploiters, and sexual predators at that. But no Latino child, raised properly in the world of macho men and hyperfeminine women, could possibly turn out like that on their own. The phrase “man up” has its own particular resonance in Latino culture, where there is—or, at least, there is thought to be—an athletic track of sexual performance hurdles, and the entire community is as one working with the emerging male social subject to ensure just that right profile of masculinity. It is one, of course, that the Anglo male can never even aspire to acquire, and it is so cleverly overdetermined that it is inconceivable one could escape it.

At least not visibly. And so, if one is indeed a queer social subject, it cannot be evident, either...

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