Amigas y Amantes:
Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Negotiate Family
Amigas y Amantes (Friends and Lovers) explores the experiences of sexually nonconforming Latinas in the creation and maintenance of families. It is based on forty-two in-depth ethnographic interviews with women who sexually identify as lesbian, bisexual or queer (LBQ). Additionally, it draws from fourteen months of participant observation in LBQ Latina events which I conducted in 2007 and 2008. I’ve used this data to examine how LBQ Latinas mange loving relationships with the families who raised them, their partners, children and friends.
Amigas y Amantes provides a gendered analysis of how sexually nonconforming Latinas negotiate cultural expectations, combat heterosexuality and reconcile tensions with their families. In it, I offer a new way of thinking about the emotion work involved in our everyday lives and highlight the informal, sometimes invisible, labor involved in preserving familial ties. I offer that the work LBQ Latinas undertake to preserve connections with biological families, lovers, and children results in a unique way of doing family.
Paying close attention to the negotiations that LBQ Latinas undertake in an effort to maintain familial order, Amigas y Amantes explores how they understand femininity, how they negotiate their religious faiths, how they face the unique challenges of being in interracial/interethnic relationships, and how they raise their children while integrating their families of choice and origin.