"Maricn," "pjaro," and "loca": cuban and puerto rican linguistic practices, and sexual minority participation, in u.s. Santera.

Published: July 1, 2011

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States are, to varying degrees, practitioners of the Afro-Cuban religion popularly known as Santería. Cuban and Puerto Rican forms of referencing LGBT populations are illustrated in this article, which is drawing from interviews and participant observation conducted in the United States, with close to 30 practitioners, many of whom were Cuban, Cuban American, and Puerto Rican. I discuss the ways in which Santería gatherings produce an alternative use of otherwise stigmatized language for "gay" practitioners. Through the use of distinctive language to reference all of these populations, we may rethink the relationship between identities and practices, and within that, gender presentations vis a vis identities.

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