Although research on Latino men in higher education has increased over the past decade (Carrillo, 2013; Garcia, Huerta, Ramirez, & Patrón, 2017; Gloria, Castellanos, Scull, & Villegas, 2009; Pérez, 2017; Pérez & Taylor, 2016; Sáenz & Ponjuán, 2009; Sáenz, Ponjuán, & Figueroa, 2016), few scholars have examined the experiences of subgroups within this student population. Notably, only a small number of empirical studies have focused on the experiences of Latino college men who also identify as part of the queer community (Duran & Pérez, 2017; Eaton & Rios, 2017; Rios & Eaton, 2016). This research gap is alarming, considering that literature indicates queer Latino men frequently face marginalization from Latinx communities based on perceptions that they are more feminine (Hirai, Winkel, & Popan, 2014). Related to this point, one common theme that arises in this extant scholarship is the contentious nature of Latino men’s relationship with their immediate and extended family. Though Sáenz and Ponjuán (2009) argued that familismo [familism] can be pivotal to the success of Latino men, these relationships are different for individuals who identify as sexual minorities (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009). With this in mind, Duran and Pérez (2017) critically examined how queer Latino college men navigate their familial relationships—both biological and chosen (Weston, 1991)—while enrolled in selective higher education institutions where they might contend with greater marginalization around their social identities. Using Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) framework, this research sought to elucidate queer Latino men’s engagement with familial capital from an asset-based perspective. In particular, we analyzed the stories of 15 Latino men who identified as part of the queer community utilizing qualitative data from TNSLMA. The two research questions that guided our study were as follows: (1) How do queer Latino men approach the topic of their sexuality with their biological family members while enrolled in higher education? (2) How do queer Latino men experience different forms of familial capital during their time in college that contributes to their success?
Findings from this study offer nuanced understandings of queer Latino undergraduate men as they navigate selective institu- tions. First, these results serve as a catalyst for scholars to challenge essentialist understandings of Latino men by initiating studies that critically examine how intersecting social identities (e.g., sexuality, disability, etc.) influence their collegiate expe- rience. For example, research that shed light on the experiences of queer Latina women (Revilla, 2010; Vega, 2016) and transgender Latinx individuals are much needed. Second, the narratives shared by the participants challenge higher education practitioners to consider the various types of familial relationships that queer Latino undergraduate men develop in college. These familial bonds with peers transcended traditional conceptualizations of friendship; instead, these chosen family relation- ships provided them with a sense of familismo that fosters the educational success of Latino college students (Pérez & Taylor, 2016; Sáenz & Ponjuán, 2009). Collectively, the findings presented in this study underscore the important role faculty, staff, and peers can play in queer Latino men navigating campus, achieving their goals, and resisting oppressive environments at selective higher education institutions.
For Mr. Duran’s and Dr. Perez’s full brief click here.
For the rest of the brief series click here.