Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York

By Agustín Laó-Montes; Arlene Dávila | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Outside/In
Crossing Queer 1 and Latino Boundaries
Luis Aponte-Parés

Beware of saying to them that sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication among themselves. 2

During an early evening “round” of Parque Zamora in Veracruz during December 1997, two Mexican men signaled me. As I approached them, they asked, “¿Qué busca?” And I answered, “Maricones.” Like so many other places throughout Latin America and elsewhere, Zamora Park in Veracruz is one of the many “furtive night landscapes” 3 or “queerscapes” 4 that gay men have invested with meaning and historically used to contest urban narratives. It has been a project of mine to decipher the way in which Latinos and Latino queers have invested with meaning the spaces of everyday life because “space has no natural character, no inherent meaning, no intrinsic status as public or private.” 5 We do not live in a void but “inside a set of relations that delineates sites which are irreducible to one another and absolutely not superimposable on one another.” 6 Furthermore, the “class, gender, cultural, religious, and political differentiation in conceptions of time and space frequently become arenas of social conflict.” 7 My interest has been to examine how these transgressions, “arenas of social conflict,” have developed in el Norte, the northern cities, where so many of us have come to reside; perhaps producing what Foucault has called heterotopias, “ counter-sites” that “are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.” 8 How do Latino queers construct their spaces outside and inside the spaces of the perceived other twice over, locales perceived by some in both the Latino and white communities to threaten the heteronormative status quo? To be sure, these new locales still remain “largely unstable, vulnerable, ‘nomadic.’” 9

-363-

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