Re: It’s Free! Swipe Yo EBT Music Video

This video reinforces the stereotypical imagery attached to the receipt of government assistance. The “welfare queen” makes a comeback in this music video spoof/right-wing propaganda. The fact that the main character/singer/video producer is a colored woman should not add any legitimacy to the oversimplistic portrayal of California’s African American communities. The Tea Party has embraced Chapter Jackson’s simplistic work as “gospel” and evidence of the detrimental effects of government assistance on the Black community. The characterization of African American females as unfit mothers via alcohol and drug abuse is nothing new in popular culture and mass media. From Halle Barry’s portrayal of a drug addicted careless mother in Losing Isaiah and the “Black crack babies” news media frenzy, to Mo’nique’s recent portrayal of “Mary Lee Johnston” in Precious, it is clear that the colonial legacies of real “motherhood” continue to be a constructed in opposition to the Black female. Chapter’s lyrics–“All you have to do is fuck and nine months later you’re in the big bucks” construct “Black motherhood and sexuality” as an easy way to obtain government assistance and monetary gain. By portraying promiscuity, drug/alcohol abuse, fast food consumption as facilitated by EBT use, the video perpetuates a self-imposed “culture of poverty” through misuse of government resources.





Generating Discussion: The Shifting Boundaries of Mexican Sexualities and the Push for Sexual Diversity



Cantu’s ethnographic research focused on explaining the development of gay and lesbian tourism in Mexico and its effects on the construction of Mexican sexual identities. By examining the political economy of sex labor and its subjectivity of Mexican homosexual identities, he characterizes the contradictions of Mexican “queer” tourism.  The fabricated transnational “queer” space and the pursuit of a genuine sexual freedom are driving the political empowerment of marginalized sexual communities. In other words, the establishment of sex markets in Mexico encouraged the expansion of sexual identities, which resulted in a more open and public view of homosexuality. Ironically, Mexico’s sex tourism is highly dependent on the influx of U.S. travelers, which influences the alignment of native sexualities to fit U.S. mainstream sexual identities. The asymmetrical economic interdependence between U.S. and Mexico forges new Mexican “queer” identities. Since Mexican sexualities are negotiated through merging sexual markets, organization and public visibility of a politicized transnational “gay” identity is reproduced.


The “de ambiente”  helps promote an authentic notion of Mexican “queerness”  through cultural expression. Cantu argues that culture is birthed through social economic processes, which explains the appropriation of the symbolic phrase. The term “de ambiente” means “of ambience” and it promotes a lifestyle that creates a fun, comfortable, entertaining atmosphere; this epitomized group identity is clearly aligned with the service oriented sexual labor force. Cantu explains how dominant repressive sexual ideologies historically constructed homosexuality in relation the non-normative “gendered roles performed in the sexual act” (p.141). This construction of homosexuality based on notions of passivity and “otherness” derives from the National “macho identity”, which perpetuated the subjectivity of feminized bodies. Because of the gender inequality that structures Mexico’s social and political sphere, bisexual activities privilege the active male. US “gay” identity cannot fully be reproduced in Mexico because of the socio-economic barriers embedded in the social structure. Yet, recent economic forces and the re-organization of urban space have provided opportunities for new alternative sexual identities that challenge and reconstruct Mexico’s monolithic and iconic male identities.


Cantu cites Ian Lumsden’s Homosexuality, Society, and the State in Mexico to delineate three forces that are responsible forthe social construction  and  policing of homosexuality in Mexico: 1) The struggle for maintenance of traditional Mexican sex-gender identities versus the creation of new identities linked to intensified sexual commodification as part of the growing sex tourism economy. 

2) The consumption of American popular culture by Mexican youth –through mass media communication, technological literacy, and foreign financial investment-including transnational business developments.

3) The affiliation and connection with the U.S. Latino community that reside in the Southwestern border states.


Mexico’s economic realignment compliments the U.S. capitalist system. Cantu argues that as result of international trade  policy adoption, such as GATT and NAFTA, the economic links between the U.S. and Mexico have established a strong bi-lateral market interdependency that overrides the  transnational social and cultural problems related to the asymmetric power relationship between U.S. citizens and Mexican nationals. This problematizes the sovereignty of Mexico as an autonomous entity because monetary priorities take the center stage in political discourses. The maintenance of political, social, and cultural ties with the U.S. further complicates the link between sexual identities and the tourism industry; this results in expanding the cultural export of National Mexican sexual identity.


Cantu’s analysis of the Borderlands as a post-modern reconstruction of colonial sexual dominance situate the U.S.-Mexican border as both a physical and ideological location that reinforces unequal politics of gender and sexuality. The subjective attributions of “homosexual” branding on male bodies actively serves as a barrier to migration and mobility up “North” of the border. Ironically, it is through migration and migration routes that sexual norms, behaviors, and identity among Mexican men and women are re-framed into identities that promise political empowerment through the economic benefits of “queer tourism”. Mexico’s  urbanization and the development of tourism industry were successful in mobilizing labor, which led to the development of gay and lesbian communities and of queer tourism. Cantu identifies the creation, commercialization of Mexican “gay” culture in public spheres, and the emerging “gay and lesbian” movement as important factors in the country’s engagement with queer tourism. Based on the historical establishment of red light districts in Mexico as national efforts to urbanize the country during the postrevolutionary period, Cantu argues that the tension of deviant sexual identification and labor was managed through the symbolic social distance represented by zonas de tolerancia. These “zones of tolerance” allowed for the maintenance of socially marginalized identities, while simultaneously leading to economic gains for Mexico. The U.S. was also able to profit from the establishment of “red light districts” located on the U.S. -Mexico border.


 The active resistance to incompatible sexual identity labels is visible in the increased political activism, which denies the image of a depoliticized, submissive, and passive homosexual male. Through a transnational appropriation and re-imagination of the U.S. “gay” identity, Mexican self identification of  “gai” aligns  political agency through the adoption of a highly visible identity. There is also a sense of resentment on behalf of an older, privileged Mexican homosexual generation, who reminisce of a time when the expression of sexuality was a private affair, maintained through underground networking. Although it is clear that “gay” tourism has democratized homosexuality as a universal identity, it is important to note that in a Mexican context homosexuality is stratified through race and social class.


Cantu’s analysis raises important questions about the legitimacy of Mexico’s “queer” tourism in relation to the local communities and businesses. To what extent are Mexican “gay and lesbian” businesses involved in the political activism for equal rights and sexual diversity?


Generating Discussion: Continuities and Change

Five Centuries of Prostitution in the Caribbean by Kamala Kempadoo 


Kempadoo presents the historical practices of prostitution –the exchange of material goods for sex, organized within the tourism industry in the Caribbean.  Her approach towards the subject is a very professional one, as she remains respectful of those individuals that willingly decide to engage in sex work. The female colored body is thought about as sexually promiscuous and immoral due to colonial notions regarding racial hierarchies. White master’s ownership over black slave women gave them access to the latter’s free labor and body. Rape and sexual abuse over time became institutionalized in the Caribbean as prostitution. The discourse around the female colored body persists today and is disguised under new practices and names such as that of “marriage tours”.

Foreign men view women of the mixed race such as the mulatta or mestiza as sexually desirable and exotic. Women of color in the past have served as both mistresses and housekeepers. Despite that colonial rule has ended women of color continue to perform such labor. Marriage tours have become popular in Colombia since agencies advertise the Latina woman as being warm, loving, and beautiful. American men travel thousands of miles in search of “love” and for a new wife –or they say. It seems that the tourism industry has extended prostitution into the official business of promoting Latinas as housekeepers and sex workers. Kempadoo notes that slaveholders “pimped” women’s manual and sexual labor the same way that the tourism sector and its extensions do today.

It is important to note that the women who participate in these marriage tours do so voluntarily and not all of them seek economic benefits. Nonetheless, a majority of them would like to escape the country’s poor economic conditions. Women of color are perhaps using to their advantage the discourse around the sexuality of the colored body the same way that some enslaved women made strategic uses of their sexual labor. Many enslaved black women achieved their freedom and even attained property –Beckles called this “sexual alliances”. Sex labor within such framework can be viewed as a liberation strategy from the control and domination of white men.

State governments have tried to mark the social distinction between sex workers and chaste women through multiple regulations. In the Caribbean, regulations to contain prostitution have varied from the official listing of prostitutes to the creation of prostitution zones. However, such distinctions are blurred with the romanticizing of prostitution practices between tourist and locals. Marriage tours are a good example being that the women involved are not explicitly selling sex labor making it harder to classify them in a particular way. Many of these women often fantasize about the foreign man and want to engage in transnational marriages trying to change their lives positively or at least they think it will.

Prostitution is a complex subject that entails many shades of gray and is not as simple as the imagined exchange of money for sexual pleasure. It is important to remember that women are subordinated within the practices of prostitution. Domestic work and sexual relations with men are an extension of such practices. In the Caribbean sex work has served to produce and reproduce capital. Sexual pleasure along with domestic labor are used to form tourist packages such as that of the marriage tours where you can go on a one week vacation and find “love”.


Should women that participate in marriage tours be considered as voluntary sex workers? If so, why? If not, how can we describe their participation? It is just “dating”?

Do you think that government deregulation of prostitution would help decrease the stigma surrounding sex workers? What about the idea that sex worker are to blame for the spread of venereal diseases?

Prostitution is often viewed as being solely heterosexual, but what about same-sex services? Do you think that the Caribbean’ sex tourism industry includes or excludes these bodies? Why?

Generating Discussion: Continuities and Change

Summary and Reading Connections of “Continuities and Change: Five Centuries of Prostitution in the Caribbean” by Kamala Kempadoo

In this reading by Kamala Kempadoo, she examines the continuities of five centuries of prostitution in the Caribbean. Initially in the 1990’s, prostitution started as a way of entertaining the influx of foreign visitors to the Caribbean. Soon, the Caribbean became notorious for their prostitution and this form of “sex tourism” was sold to foreigners. The author connects the sex trade and prostitution of the Caribbean with Beckles’ article on the fight for power and control over slaves during the period of slavery in the United States. The white slave owners would demand complete access to the black female slaves, including sexual acts, even if the female slave was married. In this way, sex was used by the white plantation owners as a form of control and a way in order to “keep down” the black male slaves. In a similar fashion, the prostitution in the Caribbean is used to manifest control for white men. White men who travel to the Caribbean feel entitled to sex from the black (and dark) women of the Caribbean. Kempadoo describes that the relationship between the white man and the mulatto “came to be represented as erotic and sexually desirable yet was outcast”. This creates an aura of forbidden lust where the white man is free to satisfy his sexual pleasure.

Kempadoo also notes that the sex tourism in the Caribbean focuses its audience to primarily heterosexual males and as a result, a new form of tourism evolved called “romance tourism”. Kempadoo explains that this “romance tourism” seeks to separate itself from prostitution and human sex trafficking as it tends to produce “longer term relationships that are established”.

The author then discusses the racialized and gendered aspects of the sex workers in the Caribbean which leads to the “subordination of women” and to “female sex workers [being] marginalized and disrespected as ‘whores'”. However, for male sex workers, they are not branded with such offensive words such as slut or whore; instead they are referred to as “player, gigalo” and even “hustler”. Thus, their sexuality is not degraded in any way, as they are often seen as “[using] their masculine power to penetrate local economies”. This view depicts male sex workers as hardworking individuals who are using their sexuality in order to move ahead in the specific economic hardships, while female sex workers are seen more predominantly as loose, immoral, and outcast individuals.


How has the difference between the portrayal of male and female sex workers in the Caribbean added to the unequal representations of sex tourism? Why are male and female sex workers depicted differently solely based on their gender?

How would sex tourism change if it not only focused on heterosexuality in the Caribbean?

Would government involvement in the regulation of prostitution and sex trafficking complicate or alleviate the anxiety for the sex workers?

Generating Discussion: – Cyberbrides in the Americas and the Transnational Routes of U.S. Masulinity

sonoma Cyberbrides in the Americas and the Transnational Routes of U.S. Masculinity

by Felicity Schaeffer‐Grabiel


Schaeffer‐Grabiel’s article examines the online dating phenomenon between U.S. males and Latin American woman.  More specifically she seems to be focused on analyzing the benefits American men perceive Latin women have over U.S. women.   She begins with the assertion “that this industry does not merely commodify relationships into binaries of the white male buyer and ethnic female seller, as is often repeated in mail-order bride studies (Villipando 1989; Glodava and Onizuka 1994; Tolentino 1999), but involves a more complex and uneven historical moment of racial formation, nationhood, and understandings of masculinity and subjectivity “(332).  The author looks to substantiate this by arguing that the love and power aspects of the relationship are intertwined “and inseparable form labor relations, race, gender, and the global economy”(332).

Latin Woman’s Perspective: Schaeffer‐Grabiel notes that the woman’s perspective in not their focus but characterizes their attitudes with: “women perceive U.S. men (as opposed to local men) as more equitable companions in marriage, who value women’s contributions to the home and family and who offer women opportunities to enjoy a stable, middle-class lifestyle”(332).  She later on says “Many Latin American women I interviewed were aware that men wanted a woman who was more family oriented than U.S. women supposedly are. In fact, many rejected being labeled a feminist for fear of their association with white women popularly thought to be selfish, sexually loose, or too domineering. This did not mean, however, that women were not strong in their conviction that they wanted a man who respected them and who saw their contributions as carrying equal weight in the family “(341).  However the relationships are ultimately best characterized by one latin woman’s quote: “It’s easier for los gringos to masturbate in front of the computer, where they don’t have to put forth any effort to satisfy anyone. Like many things here (in the US), [U.S. men are] . . . the most individualistic and self-absorbed” (interview, December 10, 2004).

U.S. Male’s Perspective: Schaeffer‐Grabiel’s main focus is on the characterization of the process by white males. The white male views it as a “fresh start” and  better “shopping experience”.   She affirms “many of the men I interviewed repeatedly stated that in Latin America they could date and potentially marry younger and more beautiful women than in the United States “(333).  “They hope for a fresh start in Latin America through their search for better wives and mothers while constructing a heightened moral and class status within the global world order as the “good guys,” heroes, or sensitive “new men” crafted against the macho Latin male stereotype “(333).   Not only do men view their marriage to a Latin as a fresh start culturally, but Schaffer-Gabriel highlights the fresh genetic aspect of the Latin woman.  Many company Web sites and men idealize Latin American women as having better genes than U.S. women or, as Jason described, better “raw materials” (interview, March 2005).  Though ultimately she highlights the demise of these relationships as she notes “while men may enjoy a boost in status in Latin America, they may find this wears off once they return home”(351-52).

No, Schaeffer‐Grabiel thinks it’s much deeper–

“Thus, finding a foreign bride converges with four discourses: colonialism, modern self-help movements, transnational capitalism, and futuristic ideals of flexibility, mobility, and a postracial society. These themes demonstrate the ways technology and ideas about globalization are incorporated into men’s everyday lives as a yearning for a utopian, multiracial, postbody affinity to masculinity and citizenship, regardless of skin color, profession, or class affiliation”(334).

Schaeffer‐Grabiel builds on the theories that “European and Western dominance shaped the formation of a white male national citizenship through the extraction of labor and sexuality from native others”(336).  She states, “I depart from this linear narrative of colonization to globalization by arguing that this new transnational masculinity builds on previous colonialist fantasies and rewrites them by drawing from the discourse of corporate multiculturalism. In other words, masculinity is not associated with colonial constructions of Western whiteness in contrast to racialized, native “others” or with contemporary anti-immigration nativism and white supremacy. Instead, men imagine themselves as the benevolent engineers who racially uplift the moral fabric of the national family by importing a superior breed of women”(337).

Her claim is the white male’s “nationalism is founded on the preservation of an invented traditional past and a future vision of modernity”(338). “Men access a multicultural patriotic manhood through adherence to the ideal American values at the foundation of the immigrant’s assimilation into the nation: hard work, traditional family values and gender roles, and notions of benevolence couched in romantic ethics of chivalry and the saving of women”(338).  The idea is the white male believes these are all modern cultural ideologies, and in adhering to these in helping the Latin woman, he substantiates his masculinity.  He considers himself a modern man.

Final Frontier-

Schaeffer‐Grabiel believes Cornell and Hooper miss-step in saying the U.S. male’s masculinity and dominance is a product of being a “business entrepreneur” in a “global marketplace”. She  has a different view regarding the nature of the white males masculinity.  She first asserts that many of the men expressed feelings of being “alienated in some way from U.S. culture and society”.  She goes on, “he realized he was replaceable in both his professional and intimate life”(338).  The white male claims to be a victim of the feminist movement: his modern wife lacks culture and tradition, with a job she is not dependent on him and therefore he is not necessarily dominate.  He highjacks the feminist movement,  “men imagine Latin American women as the last pure frontier, bodies that promise to rectify a crisis in U.S. masculinity and the breakdown of middle-class family structures. They moralize the need for new genes and bodies and for a postnational family structure that will rejuvenate not only the U.S. domestic sphere but also their own inner journeys to selfhood”(339).  In other words, these men feel emasculated by the feminist model, and seek the “less liberated woman (340)”  Male participants claim to want someone who is less spoiled and materialistic.

“Latin American and other “foreign” women are naturalized as having the right biological makeup and cultural grooming, making them more feminine, traditional, docile, and better mothers of the family. Unlike nineteenth-century constructions of racial mixing as degenerative, in this instance foreign genes are constructed as regenerative. This shift in racial construction connects with individualistic ideals of multiculturalism in the global marketplace. Once again, diversity and race are advertised as products that promise to bring one closer to nature, toward one’s “true self,” and to contribute to the making of “natural” gender and racial hierarchies.”(341).

What I think Schaeffer‐Grabiel is saying is that men seek to obtain their dominant, masculine-self, or “true-self”, in marrying a Latin woman whose culture he believes is conducive to gender and racial hierarchies.  At the same time this evokes feelings of nationalism as the the white male feels he is a “genetic engineer”, bringing in “raw materials” that are less tainted but the U.S. culture, or more specifically, the feminist movement.

Wendy Kline has no sympathy for the emasculated man. She argues David Popenoe sounds just like his father Paul Popenoe who lamented about the decaying of racial hierarchy, the difference is David laments about the decaying of social hierarchy through the feminists movement (342).


“The self-help model of individual transformation hijacks the feminist model of consciousness-raising, evacuating its radical potential through personalizing social transformation, and makes evident self-help’s genealogical roots within Christianity and Western individualism”(352).

“Many men’s groups convey feeling disempowered by feminism and advocate empowerment, coming to self-actualization through the collective sharing of oneself”(347). She goes on, “Divorced from the original goals of consciousness-raising—which were to critique how social structures affect the individual, to make the privileges of race and class visible, and to connect the personal worlds of women with larger structures of power—men focus on the individual and ignore rather than reveal these privileges”(347-48).  I think Schaeffer‐Grabiel’s main point is that men claim to be the victim of feminism and complain of how they are affected individually, rather than highlight how gender hierarchy negatively affects woman collectively.  The fact is gender and class hierarchy is the very driver in his ability to “bride shop” online. He fails to recognize how the feminist movement has contributed to the creation of the self-help ecosystem he enjoys, and later how his Latin wife will react when she assimilates with the feminist model.

She goes on “men blame consumption, materialism, and even greed for high divorce rates, for the fact that women leave them for wealthier and younger men, or that women seek their own empowerment through entering the work- force”(352).  “Through their desire to improve the culture of national family, they are caught in the dilemma of embracing ethnic, gender, religious, and national differences while maintaining global hierarchies”(352).  She argues that inevitably the relationships that are structured on heightening the U.S. males sense of masculinity, fail when the woman assimilates into American society.

Schaeffer‐Grabiel concludes “while many men turn to Latin American women and culture in hopes of living a life outside of the tyranny of capitalism, materialism, and rugged individualism, many simply seek a fantasy-ridden image of women as the object of change they seek to import back home without having to change anything about themselves”(353).

Her point is men seek a relationship that maintain their gendered hierarchy when in reality this is the very aspect of the relationship that is hardest to preserve in along side the feminist model.  The male claims his dilemma arrises when the Latin wife assumes his social class when they marry and later develops her own sense of self through the modern feminist model. In blaming feminism he seeks to directly target it. Rather than address the person change he may have to make to make his relationship work, the white male instead looks to handicap the woman’s ability to be independent from him. Specifically, he seeks a woman that he has ultimate class and gender hierarchy over. – crazy


Are U.S. males wrong in assuming Latin woman are culturally more submissive? Or is this simply an assertion that changes as Latin women experience the greater equality of rights they are afforded America?

In what ways is this dating culture reflective of the greater social views held by the American adult male?  How does this play into American policies on immigration?

Generating Discussion: Between Love and Money:Sex, Tourism, and Citizenship in Cuba and the Dominican Republic

Sex work in Cuba and the Dominican Republic has become a diluted term used to describe the relationship between citizens and tourists. Amalia Cabezas goes into much detail describing the similarities in both countries, and the misuse of the undefined term, sex work in her article “Between Love and Money: Sex, Tourism, and Citizenship in Cuba and the Dominican Republic”.

In the early 1900’s, the Dominican Republic and Cuba were under the United States’ control. While Cuba was able to successfully separate itself, the Dominican Republic struggled, leaving most of it’s citizens in poverty. Both nations were and still are heavily reliant on tourism, allowing their citizens to work in tourist areas to receive an income to provide for their families. This is where the term sex work came into use. Although many people associate this term with prostitution, these two countries perceive it in a different manner.


In Cuba the word jineterismo, meaning hustler, is used to label those who work directly with tourists for money, such as selling them small goods, helping them with directions, sightseeing, and occasionally sex. The men are referred to as jineteros, where they assist visitors with restaurants and other tourist attractions. Women, also known as jineteras, are the ones creating sexual relationships with the travelers. In fact, jineteras are seen as dominant sex workers who do this not as a form of work, but for pleasure instead. Pingueros is the term used to describe men who construct sexual relations with tourists. Although most of the pingueros are straight, they mainly had sexual relationships with men rather than women. When several interviews were done with pingueros, the men stated that they did not see the money or clothing given to them as payment for their services, but instead as a gift from a friend. The terms stated above are typically used on darker-skinned Cubans, where lighter-skinned Cubans are exempt.


Similarly in the Dominican Republic, the phrase sanky panky, also known as “beach boys” or gigolos, is used to describe those who are involved in sex work. These men and women used to cater to both male, female, gay and straight tourists, whereas now it consists mostly of middle-aged women. In the Dominican Republic, the “beach boys” do not seek sex from the visitors, but instead try to build a relationship. The term one-night-stand is viewed as unproductive. Instead, the sanky pankies shower the visiting women with extreme flirtatious behavior, take them sightseeing, out to dinner, dancing, and try to create a friendship, or a romantic relationship to encourage future visits.

In some cases in both Cuba and the Dominican Republic, creating relationships with tourists can be dangerous, especially for darker-skinned women. This is due to the fact that police officers will arrest women leaving discos, or other tourists-filled areas alone at night. In the Dominican Republic, sometimes the arrests will happen with no justification, and other times because they were “bothering” tourists. Women who are arrested are thrown in jail with murderers, and drug dealers, and are harassed and occasionally raped by police officers. They are typically not released until they can pay the fine. In Cuba however, the Federación de Mujeres Cubanas created a rehabilitation program. Women who have been arrested once are let off with a warning, and once they reach three arrests, then they can be sent to the rehabilitation center for up to four years, depending on “the degree of risk to society that the woman represents”. (Cabezas, 1006) The rehab center has not always been successful, but still continues to be used.

In both countries, the creation of a friendship between a citizen and tourist is seen as an overall beneficial relationship between the two. Often times, the tourist will pay for their boyfriend or girlfriend’s flight to visit them, or help provide for their families.



  • Do you find the relationships or friendships created in Cuba or the Dominican Republic to be sex work?
  • Do you think the rehabilitation center in Cuba is beneficial? If so should the Dominican Republic create a similar program?

Links between Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration

Two major debates in the US today are immigration reform and marriage equality. Cisneros, Somerville and Lubheid have all discussed the role of sexuality and ‘family’ in shaping immigrant discourse and Lubheid discusses the implication for same-sex couples specifically.

by Julio Salgado

As we saw in class today, immigrant and lgbt rights are not separate issues- queer undocumented activists like those involved in UndocuQueer, for example, propose intersectional apporaches.

NBC Latino: UndocuQueer Movement Rises to Push for a DREAM Act

In a blog piece called DOMA and the DREAM Act: How the LGBT and immigration reform movements intersect, Carlos Gomar writes:

For many undocumented youth, “coming out” is a familiar process. Similar to how LGBT people reveal their sexuality or gender identity to their friends and family members, undocumented youth across the country are using “coming out” as a tactic to find self-empowerment, change public opinion and alleviate fear within themselves and their communities.

What are some of the pros and cons of this strategy? For example, what are queer critiques of coming out narratives?

Prerna Lal, by Julio Salgado

Prerna Lal highlights similarities between the two movements in Gays and Undocumented Immigrants – Nativists and Homophobes Two Sides of the Same Coin. According to her, both nativists and homophobes:

1. withhold a construct with power from an Other

In the case of immigrants, that would be ‘citizen.’ For the LGBTQ community right now, that would be ‘marriage’ –

2. insist on stubborn binaries

Insistence that the lines cannot be crossed.
“You can have your civil unions” (directly implying that marriage is off-limits)
“Illegal is illegal” (falsely implying that citizenship is an immutable concept)

3. engage in twisted, corny logic

“You have the same right to get married as I do – marry the person of an opposite sex”

“If you want to become a citizen, get in the line” without realizing there is no line for most undocumented immigrants.

4. use similar distancing tactics

“I don’t have a problem with immigrants, just the ones who come here illegally.”

“I don’t have a problem with gay people as long as they don’t do IT in public” or “I don’t have a problem with equal rights for gay people, but marriage should not be redefined”

5. repeat the rule of law mantra

Keep up the shadowy pretense that ‘mob rule’ and the tyranny of the majority is somehow part of the founding principles of this country and there is no such concept as civic rights.

“Prop 8 restores the rule of law as dictated by the people, not by activist judges.”

80% of Americans are against illegal immigration” but pro-enforcement candidates somehow keep losing elections.

6. distort numbers

Both groups also swarm articles and online discussions and litter their trashy hateful discourse to appear as the ‘moral majority.’ Offline though, neither nativists nor homophobescan usually draw more than a few dozen to their rallies for hate.

7. tout baseless chain effects

“When you reward someone for doing something, you encourage others to engage in similar behavior. That’s why amnesty programs are the wrong way to address illegal immigration.”
Heritage Foundation

“Gays are recruiting young children into becoming gay.”

Because when we hang out with tall people, we get taller.

8. invoke an alien status

“Why don’t you gays just get your own planet; and leave the rest of us alone?” (If there was life on another planet, I would seriously consider it)

“Illegal aliens are just that: ILLEGAL ALIENS. Go back to Mexico.” And this is said even for immigrant youth who have been here since they were toddlers, speak perfect English, and as American as apple pie.

9. employ discourse of hate


Notice the capitalization? Notice the dehumanizing words? Nativists and homophobes usually do not have warrants for any claims they make, hence reduce themselves down to adhoms and slurs.

Lal points out that both lgbt and undocument folks can describe their positions interchangeably.

“We are here. We work alongside you, raise our kids alongside your kids, walk the same path, shop at the same stores, drive on the same highways, breath from the same air supply and drink from the same water source. The only difference is that we are treated as second-class in our own country, because we are __________ (gay/without papers).”

What are the benefits and drawbacks of this strategy? How can this be successful in pursuing change? How is it problematic?

A note on images: The images above are by Julio Salgado, an artist and activist. Check out more of his work below and on his tumblr page.

For an interview with Salgado, see: