Annie Swetha , Introduction: Special Issue on Black and Latina Sexuality and Identities


Main argument

How an intersectional view on race, gender, and sexuality brings out the discriminations faced by individuals with multiple marginalized identities.

Sub argument

The article examines the significance of Intersectional analysis, which voice out the painful lives of women of colour. It also shows the interconnec­tions of gender, race, and sexuality provided by studying black and Latina lesbians. This interconnection between race, gender and sexuality is relevant to my research which attempts to analyse identities within Trans communities, through an intersectional lens.

The paper questions the notion of viewing individual identities as a part of a larger community due to which individual-level issues are not taken into consideration. It states how a black Lesbian woman is doubly oppresses than a black heterosexuals or black gay. The article elucidates on how researches done on HIV AIDS attention has solely based on heterosexuals, Black man or Black Gay. Black Lesbian is not taken into consideration into this larger framework.

The article provides an analytic lens for understanding black and Latina women’s experiences. It also highlights the multiple levels of oppression and resistance found in these women’s lives. Through an intersectional lens it gives voice to the invisible identities of Women of Colour. This idea is relevant to my research which will focus on the multiple marginalised identities among hijras.

The articles use the theory of Collins who believes on how race and sexuality depend on the other for meaning. Sexuality has been used by those in power to support racism. This racial consciousness can be identified in my research which focuses on how hijras with fair complexion are respected more than the others.

The article examines how Black and Latina lesbians are not only marginalized within the white community, but within their community. Their identities remain invisible due to multiple level of marginalisation based on issues of race/ ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.


This paper is limited only within the experiences of Black and Latina Women experience. It has not focused the existence of multiple marginalized identities among various communities.


Thus the article shows lesbians of colour occupy an even smaller space in this intellectual landscape due to lack of inclusion within the feminist discourse and also within their own community.


Asencio, Maryso, and Juan Battle. “Introduction Special Issue on Black and Latina

Sexuality and Identities” Black Women, Gender + Families 4.1 (2010): 1-7.Print





Annie Swetha, Sex and Miscibility by Laurie J.Shrage

Main argument: Sex Chromosomes and genes are only one among several mechanisms in nature that determine an organism’s sex and sex characteristics. Bodies with varied sexual identities should not be forced to fit into the accepted categories of male or female.

Sub arguments:

      The article draws a detailed explanation on how sex was probably determined not only by sex chromosomes. Certain environmental factors like temperature at which the eggs are incubated also determine the sex in some animals. This factor is proved using the example of leopard geckos whose sex is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. Though it is not scientifically proved on humans the article hints at how sex chromosomes do not completely govern the sexual identities of an individual.

      The article shows hints at how sex was determined by several factors across ages. Thereby it stress on the need to explore new scientific concepts on sexuality rather than assuming that sex is solely determined by a pair of autosomes differentiated into two distinct chromosomes, the X and Y.

     This argument was reinforced by drawing comparison between the scientific theories built on sexuality and race. The article points out how certain outdated scientific concepts on race and sexual identities still shapes our ordinary understanding of them. For instance a black child is mostly assumed to have black hair and a dark complexion. But when a black child is born with light hair or blue eyes he/she becomes an element of surprise and is marked as being different. Similarly interms of sexuality we fail to identify the diversity of bodies-especially the bodies that mix male and female traits. This argument can be related to one of the transgender autobiography “The Truth About Me:A Hijra life story” by Revathi where she talks on how her identity as a Hijra is viewed as a social taboo. The autobiography also covers how hijras are forced to be a part of the heteronormative culture which does not provide space for a mixed identity.

     The article also questions why bodies are classified by their reproductive capacities. It questions why body parts like breasts, estrogen, vaginas are only associated with women? This argument is supported by drawing reference to scientific truths like how human organs and hormones do have play a role in all bodies. For instance estrogen cannot be solely identified with female as they are also present in the bodies of men and they control bodily functions other than reproduction. Similarly androgen cannot be only identified in a male body as they have similar effects female bodies. Through these examples the article justify the argument by stating that the presence or absence of particular genitalia, reproductive parts, gonads need not necessarily assign someone to one of the two standard sexes, when mixtures of various kinds appear.

       The article also criticizes the gay and trans activists who tried to sexual orientations from gender expressions. It states that this attitude leads to oppression within the own groups. For instance according to this idea gay men who are manly with conventional erotic desires are accepted whereas effeminate gay man with Kinky erotic desires are marginalized within their own group.

Limitations: The article has limited its focus on analysing multiple marginalized identities only among gay man. This research can be extended further to analyse how lesbians, transgender and bisexuals individuals also subjected to hierarchies within their own group.

Conclusion: Chromosomal patterns (XXY, XXX, XO) other than XX and XY are marked as ambiguous. Does that mean that these bodies should miscible their sexuality into the accepted category of men and women ?. Rather than attempting to build unifying identities, we should attempt to understand the plurality of sexual identities.

Laurie J., Sharge. “Sex and Miscibility.” Ed. Laurie J. “You’ve Changed” SEX      REASSIGMENT AND PERSONAL IDENTITY. United States of America: Oxford UP, 2009. 175-93. Print.

Annie Swetha- Intersectionality, Heteronormativity, and Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Families

Main argument: How individuals with multiple marginalized identities (Black LGBT’s) are more vulnerable to the heteronormative oppressions of the society.

Sub arguments

Using an intersectional analysis the article identifies the flaw in limiting heteronormativity to the categories of gender and sexuality.It tries to illustrate heteronormativity as constitutive of class, race, gender and sexuality.

“Heteronormativity is more than the process of patriarchy, heterosexism and compulsory heterosexuality; it also contains elements of racial and class “othering”(Ashley&Battle,5)

Using the theories of Cohen and other theorist, the article aims to analyze heteronormative from a different perspective. This “mythical norm” or “illusory universality” is shown to be the root cause for caste or race related discrimination. By drawing reference to the multiple marginalized position of the Black LGBT society, the article the projects how race and caste occupies a significant position in the heteronormative system of oppression.

The article shows the hierarchies which exists among the marginalized societies by showing the privileged position of white LGBT than their black counterparts. It shows how black homosexuals are further marginalized within their own community as well as by the heteronormative societal structure. Therefore the article adopts the strategy of intersectional analysis to show the ‘invisible identities’ of the black individuals.

In this article the issues of heteronormativity are analyzed within an American contexts where racism plays a dominant role.The article points out the labelling of black identity as ‘the other’ in the American society. This serves as an instance to show the marginalized position of the Black LGBT’s. On closer examination this situation can be related to the first wave feminism where the sufferings of the black women are left unattended. In the words of Somerville,

“White western normality became constructed on the basis of black deviance, with an imagined black hyper-heterosexual deviance at the heart of enterprise.” (Ashley&Battle,5)

The article draws a close examination to the pathological/cultural dysfunction.According to this model blackfamilies follows a non-normative family structure.In American context this deviant family structure is the root cause for all the social illness committed by the black individuals.Because of this certain rights and privileges granted to the heteronormative subjects (white) are denied to this community.It shows how heteronormative ideologies functions to force the black individuals to assimilate the “normative notions of family, gender and sexuality”.8Thus the article points outs the ways in which black gender and sexualities are marginalized from the normative center of the society. It also shows how in the process of analyzing the issues of gender and sexuality ,we often forget the important nuances of race and class in the normative structure of the society.

The article points out how black LGBT individuals are often at a greater risk for physical and mental health related illness due to societal discrimination. The major issues affecting the black LGBT’s are related to the issues of same-sex marriage, eligibility for welfare reforms and adoption.

Marriage: When it comes to marriage heteronormative family structures becomes the crucial issues of concern for the black LGBT completely as same-sex marriage is not allowed in most of the countries.

Welfare: Most of the welfare policies privilege heteronormative family structure. This hinders the black LGBT’s in gaining any economic support from the government.

Adoption: Same-sex couples are banned from adoption children in wanting to form a complete family structure. This shows the imbibed assumptions of heterosexual couples being a decent parents, while homosexuals parents being a threat to the child’s future.


Using an intersectionality framework the article aims to understand the social issues and marginalized position of the black LGBT society.


Battle,Juan ,and Colin Ashley. “Intersectionality, Heteronormativity, and Black Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender(LGBT) Families” Black Women, Gender +Families,2.1(2008):1-24.Web