The program is specifically targeted to Latino men who attend Latino-identified gay bars and events in the Mission District and surrounding areas in San Francisco and the Bay Area at large.
We provide services to men who self-identify as gay or bisexual in the Latino community, rather than the more inclusive “men who have sex with men” (MSM) category.
We believe that more appropriate interventions targeting heterosexual-identified MSMs are beyond the scope of the present project. However, many of our targeted self-identified gay/bisexual men are not publicly-identified as such. Therefore, our interventions are sensitive to and take into account the specific difficulties of “coming out” for this group of men. Of special concern are issues related to coming out to families for whom their children’s homosexuality is typically a source of shame and dishonor.
We are targeting Spanish-speaking, non-acculturated men, mostly of low socioeconomic status. Unlike Latinos who actively participate in the mainstream gay community, for example, non-acculturated men participate in a unique culture of homosexual behavior that is typical of rural Latin America and non-industrialized countries.
Our interventions are designed taking into account unique aspects of this culture, such as the fact that homosexuality is defined as a “gender” rather than an “orientation” issue — homosexuals are seen as women in men’s bodies or as less than “real” men — with a high prevalence of transvestite and transgender persons (hence the program name “of Moon and Sun” with implicit reference to the integration of masculine and feminine characteristics).
In addition, many non-acculturated men retain strong ties to their families and the straight Latino community, often at the price of silence about their lives and a sense of personal isolation and alienation. This sense of isolation is reinforced by a lack of integration to the mainstream (mostly-White) gay community due to issues of racism and classism, and a lack of integration to workplace, church, or social organizations because of strong homophobia in the Latino community.
The program is available also to Latino gay male clients of Mission Neighborhood Health Center’s HIV Program and their partners.
Last modified: February 7, 2011