Brown and Gay in LA: The Lives of Immigrant Sons (New York University Press)
The stories of second-generation immigrant gay men coming of age in Los Angeles
Growing up in the shadow of Hollywood, the gay sons of immigrants featured in Brown and Gay in LA could not have felt further removed from a world where queerness was accepted and celebrated. Instead, the men profiled here maneuver through family and friendship circles where masculinity dominates, gay sexuality is unspoken, and heterosexuality is strictly enforced. For these men, the path to sexual freedom often involves chasing the dreams while resisting the expectations of their immigrant parents--and finding community in each other.
Ocampo also details his own story of reconciling his queer Filipino American identity and those of men like him. He shows what it was like for these young men to grow up gay in an immigrant family, to be the one gay person in their school and ethnic community, and to be a person of color in predominantly White gay spaces. Brown and Gay in LA is an homage to second-generation gay men and their radical redefinition of what it means to be gay, to be a man, to be a person of color, and, ultimately, what it means to be an American.
Anthony Christian Ocampo is Professor of Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race and co-editor of Contemporary Asian America, 3rd edition. A Tin House and VONA/Voices of Our Nations Arts fellow, he has published essays in GQ, Catapult, Colorlines, Gravy, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. His work has also been featured on NPR, NBC News, BuzzFeed, and in the Los Angeles Times. Raised in Northeast Los Angeles, he earned his BA and MA from Stanford University and his MA and PhD in sociology from UCLA. Say hi to him on Twitter: @anthonyocampo.
Traci Thomas is an avid reader and book lover who created the acclaimed podcast, The Stacks, in order to talk about books and the ways they shape our cultural understanding of race, gender, politics, and what it means to be alive. Weekly guests range from academic thought leaders to bestselling authors, from actors to politicians and more; you'll find Ibram X. Kendi, Angelina Jolie, Brit Bennett, Desus and Mero, Quentin Tarantino, and many more on The Stacks. Traci also writes a monthly bookish advice column on Shereads.com. Traci lives in LA with her husband aka Mr. Stacks, and her twins, the Mini Stacks. You can find her on Instagram @thestackspod.
Praise for Brown and Gay in LA -
"A brilliant and soulful ethnography that merges probing critical analysis, social history, and cultural inquiry, with emotional clarity and dignity. Ocampo uses his own experience as a queer Filipino person as a form of intellectual insight and wisdom, thereby demonstrating how the role of the imperial, distant scholar, in contrast, leaves so many stones unturned, and how care matters in rigorous scholarship. I highly recommend this beautifully written work." ~Imani Perry, author of South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
"Anthony Christian Ocampo shows us page after page that superb research deserves the artful rendering of a dedicated artist offering up the resonances of that research to hungry, wide-eyed readers. In order to actually experience, not simply explore, and definitely not exploit, the lives of Brown and Gay men in LA, Ocampo summons the artistry of our finest writers, moving us from watcher to reader to witness to this once in a generation offering." ~Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir and Long Division
"Anthony Ocampo has written a book for our time. Brown and Gay in LA has got it all. This elegantly written and sociologically sophisticated book skillfully explores what it means to live at the intersection of immigration, race, and LGBTQ identity. Drawing on richly developed life histories of gay Latino and Filipino men in Los Angeles, Ocampo brings to light the untold stories of young men at the margins of multiple communities who experience the blunt force of racism and homophobia while also carving out spaces of community and belonging. Timely, relevant, and original, this could well be the most important book this year." ~Roberto G. Gonzales, author of Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America
"Through on-the-ground research and sensitive insights, Anthony Ocampo illuminates a generation escaping the pressures to assimilate by finding liberation among one another. Brown and Gay in LA presents a vivid, rigorous, and heartfelt examination of how community can serve as a radical bulwark against colonial legacies, religious intolerance, and racial exclusion." ~Albert Samaha, author of Never Ran, Never Will: Boyhood and Football in a Changing American Inner City
"Anthony Ocampo has crafted a gorgeous love letter to a distinctive generation of immigrant sons. In a series of tender portraits, he invites us into the heady world of Brown and Gay Los Angeles at a time of momentous change. Ocampo gracefully fuses his dual roles as storyteller and sociologist to distill the particulars and the universals of this cohort. The result is a transformative meditation on the meanings and substance of ambition in American life." ~Ellen Wu, the author of The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority
"Brown gay sons of immigrants have been largely invisible in nearly all their lifeworlds — often overtly or implicitly hostile to some part of their identity — as well as in the academic worlds that would do well to learn from them. Animated by his own voice and those of his many interviewees, Anthony Ocampo fills the void with a book that is richly storied, sociologically nuanced, affectingly written, effortlessly intersectional, and painfully hopeful." ~Joshua Gamson, author of Modern Families: Stories of Extraordinary Journeys to Kinship
"In this beautifully written book, Ocampo vividly tells the coming-of-age stories of over 60 young Filipino and Latino gay men in Los Angeles. Their experiences navigating the perilous landscapes shaped by racism and homophobia along with the fraught expectations of masculinity are heartbreaking." ~Grace Kao, co-author of The Company We Keep: Interracial Friendships and Romantic Relationships from Adolescence to Adulthood
"Brown and Gay in LA is at once an incisive sociological analysis of immigration from the perspectives of race, sexuality, and geography, and an emotive account of lives forged from multiple margins. Through Anthony Ocampo’s refusal to obey generic conventions, he joins his research participants in challenging dominant narratives that make legitimate movement across borders contingent on the capacity to inhabit societal norms. The result is an urgent book that not only asserts the existence of racialized queer experiences in particular times and places, but also invites reconsideration of the possibilities created through survivance of diverse itineraries of exclusion." ~Jonathan Rosa, author of Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and the Learning of Latinidad
"“Brown and Gay in LA documents the challenges of growing up gay for second-generation urban Latinos and Filipinos in this insightful blend of ethnography and memoir. Ocampo creates a collective voice out of the many people he interviewed while simultaneously honoring each experience. The result is a daring and provocative portrait of a uniquely diverse generation.”" ~Publishers Weekly