In Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora (2009), Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes explores cultural expressions of Puerto Rican queer migration from the Caribbean to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, to analyze how artists have portrayed their lives and the discrimination they have faced in both Puerto Rico and the United States.
Highlighting cultural and political resistance within Puerto Rico’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender subcultures, La Fountain-Stokes pays close attention to differences of gender, historical moment, and generation, arguing that Puerto Rican queer identity changes over time and is experienced in very different ways. He traces an arc from 1960s Puerto Rico and the writings of Luis Rafael Sánchez to New York City in the 1970s and 1980s (Manuel Ramos Otero), Philadelphia and New Jersey in the 1980s and 1990s (Luz María Umpierre and Frances Negrón-Muntaner), and Chicago (Rose Troche) and San Francisco (Erika López) in the 1990s, culminating with a discussion of Arthur Avilés and Elizabeth Marrero’s recent dance-theater work in the Bronx. Proposing a radical new conceptualization of Puerto Rican migration, this work reveals how sexuality has shaped and defined the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes is assistant professor of Latina/o studies, American culture and Romance languages and literatures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
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