A study examining relationships and sex between Latino gay men in New York City and non-gay men revealed that nearly half of the participants had sex with heterosexual men during the past three months. The results revealed that Latino gay men viewed sexual orientation as the result of one’s sex role. Consequently, the majority of participants believed that homosexuality is defined by one’s sex role.

Queer Latino activists of the 1970s were less concerned about transcending differences and more concerned with addressing multiple dimensions of the social experience. They sought to address race, class, and gender as a way to create a shared vision. In the process, the activists began to see their own differences as strengths and opportunities for growth. This new collective vision grew in size and sophistication. The group’s membership quickly surpassed 500 and its activism spread across the country.

While the Latino community has traditionally been homophobic, recent developments have indicated that attitudes toward homosexuality are changing. The oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S., El Diario La Prensa, recently endorsed the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Likewise, lawmakers in Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay have passed laws allowing gays to marry. And in addition to that, Venezuelan President Christian Chavez recently announced he was gay and has become an outspoken activist for LGBT issues.

In spite of these issues, gay men can have sex in a safe environment. A variety of gay clubs and bars are open late. Many gay men go out in the evening for blow jobs. They go to gay bars to see which partner is able to penetrate them before leaving. Often, they don’t know each other’s names, so they don’t expect to remain in contact. Moreover, they don’t expect the relationship to last more than a few encounters.

In the same way, coming out to one’s family is challenging. Parents’ reactions to sexuality can affect a child’s self-esteem and mental health. In addition, cultural factors can play a role in the process of coming out. A recent study of 15 Latino gay men found that they shared many fears about coming out to their families. Some even turned to alcohol as a means of dealing with the anxiety of coming out.

While many gay Latino students still face harassment in the school setting, they are becoming bolder in announcing their sexual identity. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 59 percent of Latino students participated in clubs led by lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender youths. That’s a huge increase from the six-year period prior to the study. The survey results show that Latino students are increasingly embracing their sexual identities.