Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies, University of California / Santa Cruz

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of California / Irvine
Coming Out Bureaucratically: Sexuality Rights and Narratives of Discrimination in Peru

This project examines how the introduction of formal legal mechanisms to account for and acknowledge discrimination shapes how sexual minorities in Peru narrate their sexual identity, understand their status in society, and participate in the emerging sexual minority community. The oral "coming out" narrative is typically assumed to be the primary way to narrate gay sexual identity. Yet to narrate an experience of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation requires explicit recognition of one's nonnormative sexual identity, both on the part of the victim and the perpetrator. In this project, I ask: (1) How do formal and informal resources for identifying and responding to discrimination shape sexual identity? (2) How does participation in the creation of a formalized discrimination complaint change how sexual minorities understand their identity and status? (3) How and where are narratives of discrimination circulated and what is the effect of this circulation in shaping communities of sexual minorities? Through participant observation and interviews in Tarapoto and Lima, Peru, I propose to track the production and circulation of formal and informal discrimination complaints by and among sexuality activists and sexual minorities. Situating the introduction of a formal legal protocol to address discrimination at the intersection of multiple historical processes and cultural contexts in Peru, the project poses interventions in understandings of community formation, queer studies, literacy and power, human rights and social movements.