Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces

Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces

Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces

Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces


According to the 2000 census, Latinos/as have become the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. Images of Latinos and Latinas in mainstream news and in popular culture suggest a Latin Explosion at center stage, yet the topic of queer identity in relation to Latino/a America remains under examined.

Juana Maréa Rodréguez attempts to rectify this dearth of scholarship in Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces , by documenting the ways in which identities are transformed by encounters with language, the law, culture, and public policy. She identifies three key areas as the project's case studies: activism, primarily HIV prevention; immigration law; and cyberspace. In each, Rodréguez theorizes the ways queer Latino/a identities are enabled or constrained, melding several theoretical and methodological approaches to argue that these sites are complex and dynamic social fields.

As she moves the reader from one disciplinary location to the other, Rodréguez reveals the seams of her own academic engagement with queer latinidad. This deftly crafted work represents a dynamic and innovative approach to the study of identity formation and representation, making a vital contribution to a new reformulation of gender and sexuality studies.


The reader will already have noted that, unlike ordinary texts, this one
was read first and written later. Instead of saying and writing something
new, it merely faithfully copies what has already been said and com
posed by others. Thus in this compilation there is not a single page, a
single sentence, a single word, from the title to this final note, that has
not been written in this way.

Augusto Roa Bastos, I the Supreme, Final Compiler's Note

Writing, being essentially excess, struggles at any chosen moment
among restrictions.

Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions: El, or the Last Book

Writing is silent. Barren white spaces hold the cryptic black marks of text. Margins impose an imaginary wholeness, even as they establish a border of difference. They contain the marks and signal their separateness from other texts. I know something about margins and the centers they create. I know that the borders of any frame are permeable; other ideas, other texts come in to flood any sense of originality or ownership. Centers are relative, malleable, and polydimensional. Margins are continually forming, deforming, and transforming their parameters. The ideas I present are never completely mine. They are compiled from a chorus of voices, a story told through other stories, shaped into a speech/text through a tongue that has been twisted into an uneasy conformity. In citation, there always exists the error of deficit. The move from one context to another, from a larger whole to a fractured piece always involves erasure and excess. Writing is treacherous work; it resists containment. Words spin out in search of their own meanings, ready to turn on author(ity) at any moment. Edmond Jabès writes, “Any word is a place open to attack by formidable words ready to usurp the book when nobody is . . .

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