Amigas y Amantes

Amigas y Amantes: Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Negotiate Family

Katie L. Acosta
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hj21b
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  • Book Info
    Amigas y Amantes
    Book Description:

    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 identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer (LBQ). Additionally, it draws from fourteen months of participant observation at LBQ Latina events that Katie L. Acosta conducted in 2007 and 2008 in a major northeast city. With this data, Acosta examines how LBQ Latinas manage loving relationships with the families who raised them, and with their partners, their children, and their friends.

    Acosta investigates how sexually nonconforming Latinas negotiate cultural expectations, combat compulsory heterosexuality, and reconcile tensions with their families. She offers a new way of thinking about the emotion work involved in everyday lives, which highlights the informal, sometimes invisible, labor required in preserving family ties. Acosta contends that the work LBQ Latinas take on to preserve connections with biological families, lovers, and children results in a unique way of doing family.

    Paying particular attention to the negotiations that LBQ Latinas undertake in an effort to maintain familial order,Amigas y Amantesexplores 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 origin.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6197-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-15)

    I started my field research on lesbian, bisexual, and queer Latinas at a difficult point in my life. My beloved grandmother had recently died, and on her deathbed she told her best friend that she lamented the fact that she would not get a chance to meet the new grandchild whose arrival the family was so anxiously awaiting. The grandchild she referred to is my aunt’s daughter, whom her partner had conceived via alternative insemination six months earlier. The statement that my grandmother made on her deathbed was the closest she had ever come to publicly acknowledging my aunt and...

  5. CHAPTER 1 “AS LONG AS YOU WEAR A DRESS”: GENDER CONFORMITY AND SEXUALITY
    (pp. 16-37)

    As a girl in the Dominican Republic, I remember the powerful women in my family teaching me to embody femininity. As young as five, I vividly remember slouching comfortably over a chair watching cartoons and mymadrina(godmother) straightening me out. “No te conviene andar con la espalda jorobada. Tienes que sentarte derecha con las piernas cruzadas. Así es que se sientan las señoritas.” (It’s not in your best interest to go around with your back hunched over. You have to sit up straight with your legs crossed. That’s how young ladies sit.) I consistently received messages such as this...

  6. CHAPTER 2 “AND THEN THE FATHER SET ME FREE”: RELIGION AND SEXUALITY
    (pp. 38-60)

    When Carmen and Cassandra’s daughter was born, they decided they wanted to baptize the baby in a Catholic church. They picked Carmen’s sister and brother-in-law to be the baby’s godparents, and since they did not have a church of their own, they baptized the baby in the new godparents’ church. We all stood in front of the altar: the baby, her two mommies, the godparents, myself, and a variety of other family members, waiting for the priest. Everyone seemed uneasy, unaware of how he would react to this alternative family. Upon entering, the priest asked for the baby’s parents, and...

  7. CHAPTER 3 DOING FAMILY FROM WITHIN INTERRACIAL/INTERETHNIC RELATIONSHIPS
    (pp. 61-82)

    As I write this chapter, there have been ongoing developments across the country regarding the rights of same-sex couples to marry. On October 10, 2008, Connecticut became the third state to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. Sylvia, a Connecticut resident in her early fifties and an immigrant from Cuba, took advantage of these developments and legally married her life partner of over fifteen years. Elena and Marta both married their partners several years earlier when Massachusetts made history as the first state to extend the institution of marriage to same-sex couples. When I interviewed Luisa, also a resident of...

  8. CHAPTER 4 PARENTING AMONG FAMILIES OF CHOICE
    (pp. 83-104)

    Early on in the data collection process I met Carla, a middle-aged Dominican woman, and her partner, Dolores, at a small gathering that took place at the home of a mutual acquaintance.¹ Carla and Dolores had been in a relationship for more than ten years and lived in a small immigrant community just outside New York City. Carla had never had any relationships with men, but Dolores had two children from a previous relationship with a man in Puerto Rico, her place of birth. The children were now teenagers and had lived with Carla and Dolores for more than ten...

  9. CHAPTER 5 INTEGRATING FAMILIES OF CHOICE AND ORIGIN: GAINING VISIBILITY THROUGH CARE WORK
    (pp. 105-129)

    I interviewed Aurelia at a restaurant in downtown Boston. We had corresponded through email a few times but had no mutual acquaintances. Aurelia is Nicaraguan, college educated, and holds a professional job. She identifies as a lesbian, and at age twenty-seven she has had one serious long-term relationship with another Nicaraguan woman named Pamela, whom she met when she was twenty-one. Their relationship blossomed very quickly, and within a year the couple was living together. Aurelia’s family had a difficult time accepting their relationship. Her father chose to ignore it, her brother was openly hostile in his disapproval, leaving the...

  10. CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION: ARE YOU FAMILY?
    (pp. 130-138)

    In a recent conversation my partner, Hilary, shared an encounter she once had with a schoolmate she had not seen or spoken with in over ten years. She was leaving a lesbian bar with a group of friends when she was approached by a woman whom she did not recognize. The woman, it so happens, thought she recognized her from high school and called after her. As they exchanged pleasantries about current life, common friends, and such, the woman asked Hilary, “Are you family?” My partner laughed at herself as she recounted the story because when her former schoolmate had...

  11. APPENDIX A: PARTICIPANTS’ ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS
    (pp. 139-139)
  12. APPENDIX B: FORMALLY INTERVIEWED PARTICIPANTS
    (pp. 140-142)
  13. APPENDIX C: METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
    (pp. 143-144)
  14. APPENDIX D: PARTICIPANTS’ EDUCATION LEVELS
    (pp. 145-145)
  15. APPENDIX E: PARTICIPANTS’ PARTNERSHIPS BY RACE/ETHNIC COMPOSITION
    (pp. 146-146)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 147-154)
  17. REFERENCES
    (pp. 155-162)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 163-168)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 169-170)