"How could you do this to me?": How Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Latinas Negotiate Sexual Identity with Their Families

Acosta, Katie
March 2010
Black Women, Gender & Families;Spring2010, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p63
Academic Journal
There is a growing body of research addressing issues of sexuality in Latina/o families. However, there is very little information on issues of non-normative sexualities in these families. This article uses forty in-depth interviews with lesbian, bisexual, and queer Latinas alongside fourteen months of participant observation to explore how sexually nonconforming Latinas negotiate their familial relationships. Using Goffman's presentation of self, this article explores how first- and second-generation lesbian, bisexual, and queer Latinas negotiate sexual disclosure with their families. It offers three different interactional strategies that the study participants utilized with their families: (1) erasure of nonconformity, (2) sexual silencing, or (3) avoidance after disclosure. I argue that age, economic autonomy, and migration are all factors in shaping the disclosure strategies that the respondents utilized with their families. These interactional strategies help lesbian, bisexual, and queer Latinas to minimize rejection from the family and preserve familial bonds.


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