Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Gracias to all the participants who shared their life histories for this project. Their voices are the soul of this book. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to Rafael M. Díaz, who has inspired not only me but a generation of scholars. He was with me throughout this project giving me support, guidance, and a loving friendship. ...
My first memories of AIDS are blurred. I do remember reading in El Norte, a Mexican national newspaper, something about homosexuals dying of a strange disease in the United States. It was a Sunday morning and I was in bed, in the two-room apartment I shared with a classmate. ...
Chapter 1. Social-class Origins and Trajectories
Social-class origins determine our life chances (McDonough and Berglund 2003; Feinstein 1993). It shapes our education, occupation, health status, migration, and life style. Latino GBTs who experience poverty also experience low levels of self-esteem and social support, and high levels of HIV and sexual risk behaviors (Díaz and Ayala 2001; Ramirez-Valles and Díaz 2005). ...
Chapter 2. Gender Deviants
“Cucurrucucu, paloma. Cucurrucucu, no llores” (dove, don’t cry), Blanca sang to me as she described the night a promoter found her singing in a nightclub. “Cucurrucucu Paloma,” a ranchera song, was made popular by Lola Beltrán, known in Mexico as the “queen of ranchero music.” ...
Chapter 3. The Meanings of Latino
The word Latino means nothing and everything. It can be an empty category. It can also be full of meanings and contradictions. Latino is a socially constructed concept or category when referring to a group. Its existence and meanings are contingent on a particular social and historical context. ...
Chapter 4. The Formation of Gay and Trans Identities
To become a gay or a transgender person is, still, an act of rebellion. The rebellion is against the power that asks us to follow the predefined gender roles of a man or a woman. The force that compels us to think, act, and desire as a man (in the case of those biologically defined as males) or a woman (in the case of those biologically defined as females). ...
Chapter 5. Life with HIV and AIDS
HIV triggers a transformation of the self that may lead to activism. The transformation, however, is frequently painful and slow, and activism is not its immediate outcome. Fear, shame, illness, and depression usually come before. This change and the stories that we are about to read come about in large part because of the advances in the medical treatments. ...
Chapter 6. Getting Involved
Gerardo and Orlando, both from Chicago, were involved in the creation of two small, distinct organizations: a volunteer-based organization of Latino gay men and an organization dedicated to providing HIV education and prevention services for Latino and black gay and bisexual men. ...
Chapter 7. Finding Compañeros
Finding compañera and a home is at the heart of community involvement. Our community involvement is about compañera and creating a home as much as it is about making social change and helping others. This is the major consequence of getting involved. We connect with others, who in turn link us to the wider world. ...
Conclusion: The Road of Compañeros
We had driven for two hours, when Marco asked me to stop and turn back. We were on our way to Chihuahua, the state’s capital, to meet with a group of gay men who were working on HIV and AIDS. A compañera we met in the women’s health organization for which I was working in Ciudad Juárez had put us in contact with the group. ...