Homothugs, Hidden Hearts

In Joël Barraquiel Tan’s piece Homothugdragsterism, he exposes the complexities of what it means to be queer, a minority, a young man, a hip-hop fan, and how the intersectionality of these components come together to shape identities in urban Los Angeles. Navigating the stratums of what it means to be homosexual proves to be no easy task for both Tan and the various characters he mentions.

One of the characters that presents in a “socially acceptable” manner in regards to a “gangsta” or “hip-hop” aesthetic is one of Tan’s former lovers named “Spooky.” Spooky’s whole modus operandi is to appear outwardly as a stereotypical Los Angeles gangbanger, but we quickly find out there is more to him than meets the eye. “Vladimir a.k.a. Spooky, was born to a Cuban mother and a Russian father, but identified as Chicano, and was raised in the middle-class suburbs of West Covina.” (Tan, 211) Vladimir uses this precisely crafted performance of heteronormativity in order to blend in within Los Angeles’s urban landscape while simultaneously making himself more appealing to other same sex suitors. The fact that Vladimir had to become Spooky shows that there is some cognitive dissonance on his part or does it? Is Vladimir simply constructing his own version of masculinity that holds space for same sex loving while simultaneously embracing a hip-hop aesthetic or is he simply incognito from disapproving eyes?

Read The Rest @ Black Youth Project

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