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Gay Mexican Immigrants Arriving and Surviving in Los Angeles: Intersecting Identities and Transnational Social Networks

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Abstract:

Migration and sexuality scholars assert that gender and sexuality impact which social networks immigrants use during migration and settlement processes. Gay migrants employ the material, social and cultural capital of those involved in queer social networks in both pre- and post-migration contexts. From providing incentive and resources for migration to finding housing, securing jobs and participating in leisure activities, queer social networks can play a central role in the life of gay migrants.
This paper draws on my dissertation research which is a multi-site ethnographic study of sexual identity formation among self-identified gay Mexican men in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Drawing specifically on the 25 interviews from the immigrant sample and extensive participant observation in Los Angeles, this paper interrogates the ways that self identified gay immigrant men negotiate their ethnic, immigrant and sexual identities on a daily basis, the potential role that transnational social networks play in their sexual identity formation processes and the ways that sexual identity impact their use of transnational networks. I argue that sexual identity, ethnicity and immigration create domains of common interest that draw the informants into transnational social networks thus allowing them to utilize these networks. However, rather than treating these identities as discrete I analyze the ways that their various identities constantly intersect in their sexual identity formation processes. Further, I argue that while the informants deploy various identities depending on the life circumstances which they find themselves, their sexual identities are central to their sense of self. Sharing a common understanding of sexual identity with other members of these networks is a precursor to involvement in queer social networks. That is, merely engaging in same-sex sexual activity is not enough to access and utilize queer social networks. Rather, a gay or homosexual sexual identity facilitates the usage of these networks. Further, I investigate the ways in which social class, ethnicity and rural/urban and regional distinctions shape transnational social networks and impact the usage of these networks by gay immigrants. Through an exploration of the use of queer social networks and of the intersection of sexuality, class, rural/urban distinctions, and ethnicity within these networks, this paper contributes to our understanding of the recently developed concept of sexual migration which is defined as international relocation motivated either directly or indirectly by the sexuality of those who migrate.
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Name: The American Studies Association
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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p186674_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Thing, James. "Gay Mexican Immigrants Arriving and Surviving in Los Angeles: Intersecting Identities and Transnational Social Networks" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The American Studies Association, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA, Oct 11, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p186674_index.html>

APA Citation:

Thing, J. P. , 2007-10-11 "Gay Mexican Immigrants Arriving and Surviving in Los Angeles: Intersecting Identities and Transnational Social Networks" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The American Studies Association, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p186674_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Migration and sexuality scholars assert that gender and sexuality impact which social networks immigrants use during migration and settlement processes. Gay migrants employ the material, social and cultural capital of those involved in queer social networks in both pre- and post-migration contexts. From providing incentive and resources for migration to finding housing, securing jobs and participating in leisure activities, queer social networks can play a central role in the life of gay migrants.
This paper draws on my dissertation research which is a multi-site ethnographic study of sexual identity formation among self-identified gay Mexican men in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Drawing specifically on the 25 interviews from the immigrant sample and extensive participant observation in Los Angeles, this paper interrogates the ways that self identified gay immigrant men negotiate their ethnic, immigrant and sexual identities on a daily basis, the potential role that transnational social networks play in their sexual identity formation processes and the ways that sexual identity impact their use of transnational networks. I argue that sexual identity, ethnicity and immigration create domains of common interest that draw the informants into transnational social networks thus allowing them to utilize these networks. However, rather than treating these identities as discrete I analyze the ways that their various identities constantly intersect in their sexual identity formation processes. Further, I argue that while the informants deploy various identities depending on the life circumstances which they find themselves, their sexual identities are central to their sense of self. Sharing a common understanding of sexual identity with other members of these networks is a precursor to involvement in queer social networks. That is, merely engaging in same-sex sexual activity is not enough to access and utilize queer social networks. Rather, a gay or homosexual sexual identity facilitates the usage of these networks. Further, I investigate the ways in which social class, ethnicity and rural/urban and regional distinctions shape transnational social networks and impact the usage of these networks by gay immigrants. Through an exploration of the use of queer social networks and of the intersection of sexuality, class, rural/urban distinctions, and ethnicity within these networks, this paper contributes to our understanding of the recently developed concept of sexual migration which is defined as international relocation motivated either directly or indirectly by the sexuality of those who migrate.

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Similar Titles:
Intersecting Identities: Queer Mexican Immigrant Men Using Transnational Social Networks

Sexual Migrants: Transnational Social Networks and the Intersections of Multiple Identities


 
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