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Intersections of Culture, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation: Identity Development among Gay Latino Males

1 January 2017


It is estimated by the year 2030 Latino individuals will comprise one-third of the entire U.S. Population (Bordes, 2013). Mental health professionals’ understanding and models of identity development must reflect the population which they serve. As the Latino population increases in the United States, the number of Latino sexual minority individuals will increase. Among Latinos, homosexuality is severely stigmatized and the coming out process is made extremely difficult (Peña-Talamantes, 2013). Individuals living in the United States who identify as gay and Latino are exposed to a number of negative environmental responses deriving from Latino cultural norms, dominant culture norms, religious identity, and family of origin values (Peña-Talamantes, 2013). The purpose of this study is to examine the experience of Latino gay males living in the Pacific Northwest. A total of nine gay Latino male participants were interviewed and qualitative data analysis was completed. Analysis of findings provided the following overarching themes: Coming out Process, Homophobia, Fetishizing-Tokenization, Intersectionality, Latino Cultural Values, Racism, Struggle, Reaction to Orlando, and Resilience. Each theme contained various subthemes. Discussion provides insight into gay Latino male experience, model related to better understanding a culturally informed coming out process, and recommendations for mental health professionals when working with this population.


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