Before diving into the naranja and looking for queer mujeres I decided it would be wise to give a brief overview of what this marginalized/intersecting/ strong woman deals with.
Hoy vamos a explorar what a Latina lesbian goes through and why her experience are so unique in the Latino community and in mainstream society overall. The reality that most people must manage mulitple social identities is rarely acknowledged. It seems that society likes to view individuals through a narrow lens where you can only classify with one identifying marker (i.e. ethnicity/race, sexual orientation, culture, gender, etc.). This does not permit someone to freely display how the entwinement of their character coalesce and create who they are. A woman is sometimes regarded soleley in terms of her gender, ignoring her sexual orientation and ethnic background. It is afterall easier to put someone in a box than try to understand the complexities of their character and identity.
Entonces, que es tan especial de la vida de esta mujer? So, what issues does the Latina lesbian deal with?
Well, many actually.
She deals with the burden of being an ethnic minority in the greater society, being a second class citizen for being a woman, being queer in a compulsively heterosexual society, and the list goes on.
The experience of esta mujer is especially disparate to other lesbian women’s lives because of how her culture dominates her view of life. A Latina individual understands herself and her sexuality from her surrounding environment, this being her immediate family. She understands how and what is expected from her as a woman, sexually and socially thorough explicit and implicit rhetoric and attitudes. This includes expectations of virginity, heterosexual behavior, and motherhood.
La latina lesbian butts heads with this imposed role of a mujer in her culture. As a mujer certain things are expected of her; she is expected to get married, be an obedient wife, become a mother, take care of the children and family, and so on and so forth. However, the latina lesbian deflects from that responsibility in more than one way for she will not be a man’s wife and the possibility of her becoming a mother comes with more complexity.
Latina lesbians also face unfamiliar territory, straddling the line of sexuality and sexual orientation with little if any guidance. In a compulsive heterosexual community that rarely broaches any topic regarding sexuality, she is assumed as heterosexual, which increases the pressure for Latina lesbians that deal with the pressure of maintaining a heterosexual role while trying to figure out their sexuality.
For a lesbian Latina, these issues are complicated due to the compulsive heterosexual attitudes displayed within her community. She is further marginalized due to her sexual orientation that is not openly accepted. The Latina lesbian falls under many categories that complicate her life and in order to manage these contradicting identities she must learn to balance her multiple social markers.
She must live on the outskirts of the mainstream world that does not fully accept her for being Latina and queer as she simultaneously battles cultural fuego for not abiding by standard gender roles. As Anzaldua (1998) argues that the queer Latina lives in the borderland, a space that serves as a home for the marginalized. It is a very complicated situation that she is split between; she straddles the borderland because she is not fully welcomed in either sphere but needs the support of both.
-Dora la Expolradora