Gender, Sexuality, and Family Kinship Networks

Juanita Díaz-Cotto

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Gender, Sexuality, and Family Kinship Networks

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Chicana pintas have always struggled with demands placed on them simultaneously by their families, their barrios, and the state. Gender roles, sexuality and sexual identification have been arenas within which pintas challenged such expectations. As such, pintas have taken advantage of the institutional setting to experiment with many different types of relationships with other women prisoners, some of which were sexual in nature. They also have had both voluntary and involuntary sexual contact with female, but most often, male staff. This chapter explores how pintas incarcerated at the Sybil Brand Institute for Women in Los Angeles sought to exert their independence from oppressive gender role expectations placed on them by jail administrators and staff; how penal staff reacted to same-sex relationships between women; and how incarcerated Chicanas challenge cultural and institutional rules and regulations, many rooted in compulsory hetereonormativity, as they build and nourish kinship networks to satisfy their “spiritual, social, and emotional needs.”.

Keywords: Chicanas; pintas; Sybil Brand Institute for Women; same-sex relationships; gender roles; sexuality; sexual identification; kinship networks; women prisoners

Chapter.  6475 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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