Thursday, March 27, 2014

Guest Post: Latino Bicultural Project



Greetings from the Latino Bicultural Project! We at the LBC Project have conducted a multi-year study, directed by Dr. Miguel Muñoz-Laboy of Temple University, that is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The project is based on data from 150  behaviorally bisexual Latino men, aged 18-60, in New York and New Jersey. Bisexual Latino men make up a population that is at elevated risk for both physical (HIV/STI) and mental (anxiety, depression) health risks. As both ethnic AND sexual minorities, the men in our study faced a number of oppressions. We are currently in the dissemination phase of the project, and are reaching out to key organizations and the general public to talk about what we found. 

We looked at numerous factors in our participants’ lives, including family, social support, the presence and management of stigma, gender ideologies, patterns of partnering, generational shifts in behavior, social support, religious belief, occupational role and work environment. Whew! Here are a few of our findings:
  •  Most foreign-born men found it easier to express same sex desire in the U.S. than in their home countries
  • Those with a high degree of religious belief had low levels of condom use
  • Middle class men tended to live in neighborhoods with close proximity to bars where they met male sexual partners, while working class men tended to rely more on the internet to meet men
  • Using the internet to meet male partners was also indicitive of sexual identity comfort: the more comfortable men were with their same-sex behavior, the less likely they were to use the internet to meet male sexual partners, and the more likely they were to meet men through personal social networks
  • Most of the men in our study used discretion in their encounters and relationships with other men in order to manage perceived stigma and social risk
  • Maintenance of family relationships and a masculine public image were both highly valued and sources of stress
  • Most were engaged in steady partnerships with one or more people
  • The youngest cohort (aged 18-25) were most likely to identify as bisexual, as well as to hold flexible understandings of gender and sexuality
Our monograph, with a full discussion of our complete findings, is forthcoming. Until then, check us out online! We’d love to hear from you at latinobiculturalproject@gmail.com.