Making Queer Familia
These spaces of familia have all made this moment of conclu-
sion possible; they have taught me almost everything I now
know about queer, about desire, about bodies on the margins,
and dance floors creating momentary centers.
Juana María Rodríguez, Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices,
Discursive Spaces (2003)
n her foundational essay, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Politi-
cal Economy’ of Sex,” anthropologist Gayle Rubin (1975, 169) main-
that kinship is not “a list of biological relatives” but rather “a
system of categories and statuses that often contradict actual genetic re-
lationships.” While this book has detailed at length the ways in which la
familia has been deployed as a means of maintaining normative kinship
arrangements, I want to close by illustrating how reconfigured kinship ar-
rangements need not be established in mutual exclusivity from biological
relations. Kath Weston has identified this as enacting “chosen families.
For Weston (1992, 137), “chosen families do not directly oppose genea-
logical modes of reckoning kinship. Instead, they undercut procreation’s
status as a master term imagined to provide the template for all possible
kinship relations.” Indeed, chosen families lie at the heart of Chicano/a
queer politics so much so that it has become virtually impossible to ar-
ticulate notions of community without signaling their import. And while
this afterword aims to show how “queer familia” as a chosen family might
contest the heteropatriarchal stronghold on communitarian thought in
Chicano/a cultural politics, it must also end with a cautionary note given
how “queer” reconfigurations are always provisional.
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