Engaging Diversity Opening Plenary

“I Don’t See Color or Race”: Latin@ Bisexuality at the Intersections of the Erotic, the Exotic and the Dangers of Colorblind Racism

Miguel A. Munoz- Laboy, DrPH

June 14, 2018
7:00 PM – 08:30 PM
1.5 CE

Patients, clients and even academics and practitioners construct what is erotic to us through a number of complex socialization processes that regrettably often leave us with limited tools to be able to talk about sex, pleasure, and even silencing taboo topics such as the role racial and ethnic differences in eroticism and sexual interactions. This, in fact, is one of the major taboos in the sexual landscape of multi-cultural, multi-racial societies with histories of colonization and slavery. Where is the boundary between erotic racial-ethnic differences and racialized dehumanization of the other as a sexual object? This is the focus of this presentation as it pertains to bisexual Latin@s* in the USA, a group at the intersection of two major axes of diversity.

*Because the word “Latino” is a masculine word in Spanish, we use the “@” to denote male, female and transgender Latinos (as) or Latin@s.

Dr. Miguel Muñoz-Laboy is an Associate Professor at Temple University School of Social Work, College of Public Health.  He completed his undergraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences (BS) at the University of Puerto Rico, his masters in public health (MPH) at the University of Connecticut, his doctoral degree in public health (DrPH) from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences and his post-doctoral fellowship with the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University.

Since his first his first fieldwork on HIV risk among young men’s bisexual networks in Kandy, Sri Lanka in 1997, Dr. Muñoz-Laboy has maintained a dual research agenda in public health locally and internationally. His primary area of research has been on Latin@ bisexuality. His areas of domestic research include: examining the social and cultural determinants of sexual health and mental health among bisexual Latino men; studying the sex market configurations of bisexual Latino men; exploring the combined effects of untreated depression, hyper masculinity and history of incarceration for the sexual-reproductive health practices of economically marginalized young and adult men in migrant communities; and, developing and testing interventions in HIV continuity of care for Latin@s with opioids use disorders. To support his research program, he has received nine externally funded grants as Principal Investigator (PI) or co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) and have served as co-investigator in eleven additional externally funded grants. He recently completed a 4-year study entitled “Gender, power and Latino men’s HIV risk” (5R01HD056948-02: Years: 2009-2013; PI: M. Muñoz-Laboy) funded by the National Institute of Child and Health Development (NICHD) and a 2-year challenge grant-funded study entitled “Network determinants of risk among formerly incarcerated Latino men” (5RC1MH0788636-02: Years 2009-2011: PIs: M. Muñoz-Laboy and Vincent Guilamo-Ramos) funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He also served as co-Principal Investigator to a 5 years study on the Religious Responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Brazil (PI: Richard Parker).

Currently, Dr. Muñoz-Laboy serves as co-principal investigator with Dr. Laura Bamford in an intervention study to increase HIV retention in care for HIV positive injecting drug users of Puerto Rican ancestry in Philadelphia (“Clinica Bienestar,” #H97HA26504; 2013-2018, funded by the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS), HRSA). Dr. Muñoz-Laboy has 69 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 12 chapters in edited books, co-editor of an edited book (“Love and globalization” published by Vanderbilt Press, 2008) and senior editor of an edited book (“Religious responses to HIV/AIDS” published by Routledge, 2014).