Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A minority plus a minority equals what?

Brenda Santamaria

Identifying as a LGBTQ is hard; especially within a culture and community that does not accept it. Ignorance is common among communities who are not open-minded about issues that neither their culture nor religion agrees with. In Giselle Ramirez’s recent YouTube video, she speaks out and expresses her hardships of growing up being a Hispanic lesbian (Cuentama, 2011).  Throughout this blog post, I will conduct an analysis of Giselle’s video using John D’Emilio and Nan Stein’s ideas about sexuality to prove that Mexican/ American women are not only marginalized  for their status as a minority but because their Religion does not accept their sexual orientation.
Harassment among LGBTQ communities is very common, which makes it hard for LGBTQ people to be completely open about their sexuality. Giselle knew from an early age that she was attracted towards girls, and decided to be open about her preference. As a result, however she suffered from bullying and physical violence. Ramirez states how “she was physically assaulted by two girls in a school bus” (An Honest Conversation video, 2011). Yet, the school did not intervene nor defended Giselle; instead they suspended her, even though she did not instigate the fight. Nan Stein argues, that schools have forgotten that students should “go to school that is gender-safe, and free from gender-based harassment and violence” (Stain, 31). School is not meant for students to bullied, it is meant to be a healthy learning environment where teenagers can properly form their young minds while discovering themselves.  
Furthermore while battling with societal issues; Giselle was not even presented with any sort of family support. This has to do with that fact that her parents could not think past the religion barrier. Her own father reminded her that, since she was not discrete about being a lesbian, she automatically put herself out there. John D’Emilio agrees with this statement when he mentions that homosexuality creates, “a pervasive hostility, expressed through religion” (D’Emilio, 22). The fact that her family comes from a Catholic background was enough for them to not support their daughter. Giselle also includes how “she was in fear she was going to go to hell for being a lesbian” (An Honest Conversation Video, 2011). Therefore, the heavy Catholic background of a Chicana influenced Giselle’s father opinion, even though, ironically “her parents were not the type of religious people that go to church every weekend” (An Honest Conversation Video, 2011). In short, her parents may not have been very religious, however they did not approve of their daughter’s sexual orientation based on strong beliefs that God had intended for humans to be straight.
People cannot change their sexual preference, but we can at least strive to change one's awareness of how marginalizing it would be for Mexican/ American women who are already a minority, to be further marginalized for belonging to the LGBTQ community. As shown in the context, Giselle has gone through various forms of violence and abuse due to her homosexuality. From peers attacking her physically, to family attacking her mentally, Giselle has confronted the constraints inherent with her ethnicity and her religion. Tolerance does exist within the world, though not completely. Therefore, people like Giselle will continue to experience hardships due to the ignorance of other people’s fears and strong religious beliefs.


D’Emilio, John. “Homosexuality and American Society: An Overview” from Sexual
Politics, Sexual, Communities in the United States 1940-1970. Chicago, Ill:
University of Chicago Press, 1983. pp 9-22

Stien, Nan. Bullying, Harassment and Violence among students in Radical Teacher, No.
80 “Teaching Beyond Tolerance” Winter 2007. pp 30-35


  1. In response to the double-minority paradigm presented in this post, I think by analyzing religion in conjunction with sexual orientation was extremely interesting in the case of Giselle and the obstacles she has had to face. However, I would like to bring up another type of marginalized group that many do not think about when referring to LGBTQ minorities: the physically disabled or handicapped.
    In terms of physical appearance, race and ethnic background are usually hard to disguise, but so are a number of physical disabilities. These differences in one’s body are often a target for hurtful comments and can lead to oppression for the victimized individual. In “Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies: Disability and Queerness”, Clare describes her experience as both a member of the LGBTQ community as well as a person with a disability. She wrote not only about the external struggle of how society viewed her, but in essence of how she viewed herself. She states, “...I know nothing has changed. What has changes is how I perceive my irrevocable difference, how I frame it, what context I place it into” (364).
    So in reference to the post, I think it is really difficult to be a member belonging to two minority groups. For Giselle, it had to be emotionally challenging not having the support from her family due to their religious and cultural beliefs. For Eli, it had to be physically challenging to seek support and acceptance. Both examples present internal and external difficulties which shows that being an LGBTQ member and associating with an additional stigmatized class is much more complex and is often subject to further discrimination.

    ELI CLARE “Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies:  Disability and Queerness” from Public Culture.  Duke University Press. 2001. 

  2. What an eye opening blog! I completely agree with the fact that there is a major lack of support within the private and public dichotomy of family and education especially for marginalized racial Americans who are religious as well. Abuse stems from ignorance, uncomfortability, hate, socially constructive pressure of ‘normal’ behaviors and desires, the way one was raised, etc… This leads not only to personal biases or even discrimination, but even outward physical violence. “Queerbashing has become a significant recreational activity for young urban males. They come into gay neighborhoods armed with baseball bats and looking for trouble, knowing that the adults in their lives either secretly approve or will look the other way.” (Thinking Sex by Gayle S. Rubin pg.4) This sort of discrimination and actual violence stems from so any different variables. Including what you said on religion. Religion plays a big factor into the acceptance or rejection of homosexuality. This girl that you spoke of that was not accepted by her family because of their religion speaks on the values and strong influence on people, condemning the ‘sinful’ ways of homosexuality. There is also no support in the school systems. Administrators and teachers at times turn a blind eye to bullying when it comes to gay bashing and bullying. Why is this? Is it because they in a same sense have the same ideologies of these kids that being homosexual is ‘wrong’ and should be punished? Lack of support in the different aspects of public and private life of under representated sexualities is an ongoing issue.