Phil 327


Carla Trujillo “Chicana Lesbians: Fear and Loathing in the Chicano Community”



(1)   Like Hopkins, Trujillo wants to provide an account of homophobia. In particular, she aims to provide an account of homophobia against Chicano lesbians within the Chicano community. Thus her account is not a general account of homophobia. It is specific.


(2)   Her central thesis is that homophobia arises because Chicana lesbians are a threat to male dominance within Chicano community. Like Hopkins, she does not think that homophobia is a mere irrational fear.


(3)   She thinks that because Chicana lesbians are a threat to male dominance within Chicano community, they are viewed as traitors to their race (vendidas) and  homosexuality is seen as ‘counter-revolutionary’.


(4)   She sees the threat arise in the following ways:


(A)  Sexuality. She thinks that Chicana women are raised not to think of themselves as sexual beings and not to love their own bodies. Instead, they are supposed to relinquish all sexual pleasure to the men.


Chicana lesbians, however, must confront their own sexuality (as lesbians). They must learn to love their bodies, and break free of traditional conceptions of appropriate female sexual conduct.


(B)   Identification. She thinks that Chicana women are not viewed as complete women unless they are connected to a man. This sets up a situation in which women must compete with each other.


Chicana lesbians, however, do not fit into this picture. Instead of competing with other women, they love other women and identify in ways that are independent of men.


(C)  Motherhood. She thinks that Chicana women are not viewed as complete women unless they become mothers.


Chicana lesbians disrupt this in two possible ways. (1) By not having children; (2) By being mothers in non-traditional ways.


(D)  Religion. The Roman Catholic Church condemns homosexuality. So Chicana lesbians are forced to either reject religion altogether or find alternative forms of religion.


(5)   Objections to Trujillo’s Account


(I)     She speaks about ‘the Chicano community’ as though it is monolithic. However, there are other important factors that ought to be taken into consideration (class, education, for example) which yield a more complex, nuanced view. Given the complexity, the issue arises which picture is to be accepted as the true or basic account of ‘the Chicano community’ (if any).


(II) She rejects the view that Chicana lesbianism is racial treachery as a kind of     

     backward view. However, she does not appreciate the ways in which

     repression can be a form of resistance. Thus, homophobia can be a way of

     resisting racial oppression. (This is not to condone homophobia, only to show  

     the complex relationship between oppression and resistance. The ideal would

     involve simultaneous resistance to all forms of oppression). A more nuanced

     account would point to ways in which visible lesbian culture is (in the U.S.) is

     coded ‘white, anglo’. Is there a racism embedded within LGBT-politics? If so

     a Chicana lesbian may face a double-bind where LGBT community offers

     racial stratifications and Chicano community offers homophobia. The issue,

     once again, concerns the serious (ever overlooked) issue of interlocking