Thesis

Straight Outta The Factory: Sexuality, Masculinity, and the Homeboys

Existing studies of masculinity lack thorough and sociological examinations of how adult Latino gang members construct alternative masculine and sexual identities within hyper-masculine gang subculture. To address this topic, the study at hand examines how 9 Latino adult gang members, who have had a male-on-male sexual experiences, and 2 sexual partners with no gang involvement rely on alternative cultural perspectives to construct their masculine and sexual identities. Based on in-depth interviews, I find that among these adult Latino gang members, constructing and managing masculinity and sexuality are connected to hyper-masculine enactments and expectations by peers, family members, and dominant gang culture. With fear of alienation, participants sought to construct and manage their alternative sexual and masculine identities by regularly preparing their bodies for a social world wherein homosexuality is forbidden and physical confrontations are commonplace. The findings contribute to our understanding of how adult Latino gang members heavily rely on their social ties to both their countries of origin and respective gang subculture.

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