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CompañerosLatino Activists in the Face of AIDS$
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Jesus Ramirez-Valles

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036446

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036446.001.0001

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The Formation of Gay and Trans Identities

The Formation of Gay and Trans Identities

(p.81) Chapter Four The Formation of Gay and Trans Identities

Jesus Ramirez-Valles

University of Illinois Press

This chapter describes how compañeros came to call themselves gay or transgender. As with the Latino label, not all the activists refer to themselves as gay or transgender. Some call themselves queer, while others refer to themselves as either drag queens, women, or simply use female pronouns when talking about themselves. The life histories of these activists show that the adoption and construction of a gay and transgender identity is largely a sociocultural process in which peers, community organizations, and other socializing venues, such as bars and neighborhoods, play a central function. These activists adopt identities as gay or bisexual men and transgender as they meet compañeros: peers who share their experiences, mentor them, and support them to overcome the internalized stigma.

Keywords:   gay, transgender, queer, sociocultural process, bisexual

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