Migration, gender conformity, and social mobility among Puerto Rican sexual minorities

  • Marysol Asencio
  • Katie Acosta
Special Issue Article


Based on a 3-year study of migrant Puerto Rican sexual minorities, the authors explored the relationship between migrants’ sexuality, their decision to migrate, and their post-migration experiences. All study participants were raised in Puerto Rico and migrated stateside for the first time as adults. Using data from qualitative fieldwork and in-depth interviews with 74 lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual (LGTB) Puerto Rican migrants, this article focuses on individuals’ decision to migrate, gender conformity, and social mobility. The findings suggest a complex relationship between the participants’ decision to leave the island and their sexuality and gender conformity. For most participants, sexuality was not the reason they left Puerto Rico, but it was a factor in their decision to not return. Most study participants increased their social mobility or remained at the same economic level after migration. However, an increase in social mobility for participants was mitigated by a racialized identity.

Key words

Hispanic Latino LGTB race northeastern United States 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family Studies and Puerto Rican and Latino StudiesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrs
  2. 2.Department of SociologyTulane UniversityNew Orleans

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