Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS
Awards and Recognition:
Received first place in the Best Health Book - English category in the Latino Literacy Now's International Latino Book Awards
Exploring Latino GBT involvement in the fight against AIDS
Telling the affecting stories of eighty gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) Latino activists and volunteers living in Chicago and San Francisco, Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS closely details how these individuals have been touched or transformed by the AIDS epidemic.
Weaving together activists' responses to oppression and stigma, their encounters with AIDS, and their experiences as GBTs and Latinos in North America and Latin America, Jesus Ramirez-Valles explores the intersection of civic involvement with ethnic and sexual identity. Even as activists battle multiple sources of oppression, they are able to restore their sense of family connection and self-esteem through the creation of an alternative space in which community members find value in their relationships with one another. In demonstrating the transformative effects of a nurturing community environment for GBT Latinos affected by the AIDS epidemic, Ramirez-Valles illustrates that members find support in one another, as compañeros, in their struggles with homophobia, gender discrimination, racism, poverty, and forced migration.
“In this lucid and compelling book, Ramirez-Valles argues that community involvement, in this case related to the HIV epidemic, creates social change while simultaneously nourishing the self of those involved. The argument is sustained through the voices of eight Latino gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who engaged in community activism to combat the HIV epidemic. Their experiences are masterfully presented in order to foster the overall aim of the book.”—Contemporary Sociology
"Unlike other works, Compañeros succeeds in allowing the activists to speak for themselves and shares with readers an intimate connection to their lives, thoughts, and emotions. The life stories of gay men and transgender women are movingly presented with both passion and clarity, giving a feeling of great respect and admiration for a group who heroically turns oppression into a source of resilience and strength, as well as a solidarity seldom seen in contemporary social movements."--Rafael M. Díaz, author of Latino Gay Men and HIV: Culture, Sexuality, and Risk Behavior
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