Life for queer Hispanics isn’t always easy. There are different cultural traditions and beliefs they have to fight against. Men are supposed to be the head of the house with a successful job. Women are supposed to get married, have children and keep the household in order. However, being a queer Hispanic can disrupt these expectations, and we must learn to adjust to what we want out of our lives and what is expected of us.
Some never come out for fear of the repercussions. Others have to face bullying because they have decided to live life as their true self. While there are queer Hispanics who only surround themselves with other folks like them. Whatever the case may be, literature has done its best to portray these stories and make other queer Hispanics feel less alone.
Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera
Mangos & Mistletoe follows the story of Kiskeya and Sully, two Dominican chefs who arrived in Scotland with one goal: winning the Holiday Baking Challenge. This would be the perfect opportunity for them to prove themselves, make their families proud and accomplish one of their biggest dreams.
When they become partners in the competition, things don’t always go as smoothly as expected. With different personalities, a secret attraction to each other and a big betrayal, things may go south for these two chefs.
Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee
Café Con Lychee tells the story of two teenage boys who are enemies due to their parents’ coffee shops. Theo Mori, the only openly gay guy at school, can’t wait to graduate and leave his parents’ Asian American coffee shop behind. While Gabi Moreno plans on taking over his parents’ shop as he hides in the closet and dreams of dancing.
The two of them have to come together when a new fusion shop threatens to put both shops out of business and ruin their dreams. Theo decides to sell food at school, but after a wrist injury, Gabi jumps in to help him. It is then that a history of being enemies and their newfound feelings begin to co-exist.
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Being a queer Hispanic girl is never easy, especially if you are the only Hispanic kid in your high school and intend to keep your sexuality a secret. That is the story in The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes. Before transferring to a new school, Yami is outed as a lesbian. After that incident, she decides she will no longer fall in love.
Yami’s goal to keep her sexuality a secret becomes harder when she develops a crush on the only openly queer girl at her school. However, she knows that if her mom found out, things could worsen for her. That’s when she begins to live by the letters WWSGD (what would a straight girl do?).
Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
Many Hispanic countries share a history of dictatorship, and that was the case for Uruguay. Cantoras talks about five women who find themselves in the midst of a dictatorship in 1977, becoming lovers, friends and family. Homosexuality is frowned upon and considered one of the worst transgressions, so these women know to find refuge in each other.
By trying to find a space to be themselves, they come upon Cabo Polonio, an almost uninhabited area. They begin building a life for themselves between this cape and the city, Montevideo, visiting when they can and when it isn’t dangerous for them. Throughout their lives, they are challenged by their families, society and one another.
Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia
Writing in both English and Spanish, Benjamin Garcia paints the picture of what it is like to grow up as an undocumented queer Hispanic in Thrown in the Throat. With several poems, he discusses what it is like not to be a citizen even though you live in that country, having a Hispanic family as a queer individual and his love for Adam Rippon.
There are different instances told in the poems, such as moments in which it became very clear to him how dangerous it was to be an undocumented immigrant. He dives into the cruelty immigrants suffer in countries where they aren’t welcomed and how he learned to survive.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
As a Black, queer, transgender person, Felix Love fears he will never find love. Even though it is in his name, he has yet to experience what being in love feels like, and he wonders why it has been so hard for him to find someone special, someone to love, someone to love him.
Felix finds himself in a love triangle after someone anonymously posted his deadname and photos of him before transitioning. Even though he is set on getting revenge, he ends up on a journey of self-discovery. He begins questioning who he is, what defines him and how he feels about himself.