Re- membering Gay Latino Studies
Michael Hames- García and Ernesto Javier Martínez
“Que no se nos olvIden los hombres”
In Borderlands/La Frontera the Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldúa makes room in
her theorization of “mestiza consciousness” for a brief but poignant consider-
ation of gay Chicano men.1 In doing so she not only expresses grief over the iso-
lation imposed on jotos by a certain kind of lesbian separatist politics, but also
associates the cultivation of such sharp and policed divisions with personal and
political loss. She writes, “Asombra pensar que nos hemos quedado en ese pozo
oscuro donde el mundo encierra a las lesbianas. Asombra pensar que hemos,
como feministas y lesbianas, cerrado nuestros corazones a los hombres, a nues-
tros hermanos los jotos, desheredados y marginales como nosotros.”2 Under-
standing Anzaldúa’s statement to be a courageous assertion of feminist soli-
darity, an assertion of mutual recognition and responsibility, we come closer
to appreciating why a volume like Gay Latino Studies—dedicated as it is to culti-
vating a dialogic context for gay male Latino intellectual production—begins
with its invocation, why perhaps it even finds comfort in it. As the editors of
this volume we are not interested in imputing responsibility to feminists for
any isolation that jotos and other gay Latinos have experienced. The history of
that isolation—and of the divisions that have existed between gay Latinos and
Latina lesbians (when they have existed)—is surely a long and complex one. In
putting together this volume, however, we have been motivated less by histories
of separation and isolation than by a commitment to the kind of deep solidarity
modeled by Anzaldúa, a sense of remaining incomplete so long as the libera-
tionist agenda that includes Chicanas and Latinas does not also include jotos,
and vice versa. It is the unambiguous assertion of interdependence, coupled
with the direct naming of jotos as “nuestros hermanos,” that informs the cre-
ation of this volume.
“Not forgetting” gay Latino men, as Anzaldúa implores, is one way of fram-
ing the motivation behind the present volume. However, we are also keenly
aware of the potential imprecision of that phrase and its resonance as patroniz-
ing benevolence in its self- assured commitment to what has been “left behind.”
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