"Listen to what your jotería is saying” : pain, social harm, and queer Latin@s
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In this dissertation, I investigate how transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (TLGBQ) Latin@s have experienced social harm during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, what is the socio-historical context for their experiences, and how have ideologies of Latin@ gender and sexuality shaped these experiences. This is accomplished through the analysis of twenty-six (26) life story interviews where TLGBQ Latin@s provide a testimonio account of their encounters with social harm. Using a social harm framework and centering markers of pain, I develop the theoretical concept algorithms of pain to understand the dynamic and complex experiences TLGBQ Latin@s have with harm rooted in the everyday and institutional realities of racial, gender, sexual, and class inequalities. Algorithms of pain asserts that the totality of social harm TLGBQ Latin@s encounter shapes the meaning they assign to any individual harmful event, informs evaluations of pain and potential harm, and structures daily behavior and attitudes. Algorithms of pain reveal the myriad of ways TLGBQ Latin@s can and do express, communicate, and narrate pain; thus, countering the dominant presumption that pain manifests and is communicated in very narrow terms. This is exemplified in what I have observed as racial utterances, where TLGBQ Latin@s narrate in ways that make use of silence, brief remarks, or stories in passing as ways to index racial social harm, instead of stories thick with detail, description and explicit accounts of pain. Additionally, algorithms of pain establish the centrality of racism, patriarchy, transmisogyny, homophobia, class exploitation, and xenophobia to constructing the full spectrum of emotions that represent pain. Lastly, the dissertation documents through an analysis of governmental mission statements why the state is unable to intervene into the social harm effecting TLGBQ Latin@ lives. The state represents the institutionalization of an algorithm of pain that privileges whiteness, cisgenderness, heterosexuality, wealth, and citizenship, which results in harm management being the overall orientation and function of the state in social harm.