The Sexuality of Migration

Border Crossings and Mexican Immigrant Men

265 pages

February, 2009

ISBN: 9780814758496



Also available in


Lionel Cantú, Jr. (1965-2002), was Assistant Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Department of Sociology.

All books by Lionel Cantu

Nancy A. Naples is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of many books, including Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis, and Activist Research, and Grassroots Warriors: Activist Mothering, Community Work, and the War on Poverty.

All books by Nancy A. Naples

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz is Assistant Professor of Sociology at American University. His work has appeared in journals such as Qualitative Sociology, Sociology Compass, and Sexualities, and books such as Gay Religion and Latinos/as in the United States: Changing the Face of América.

All books by Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Sexualities Section Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Book Award in Latino Studies Honorable Mention from the Latin American Studies Association

The Sexuality of Migration provides an innovative study of the experiences of Mexican men who have same sex with men and who have migrated to the United States.

Until recently, immigration scholars have left out the experiences of gays and lesbians. In fact, the topic of sexuality has only recently been addressed in the literature on immigration. The Sexuality of Migration makes significant connections among sexuality, state institutions, and global economic relations. Cantú; situates his analysis within the history of Mexican immigration and offers a broad understanding of diverse migratory experiences ranging from recent gay asylum seekers to an assessment of gay tourism in Mexico. Cantú uses a variety of methods including archival research, interviews, and ethnographic research to explore the range of experiences of Mexican men who have sex with men and the political economy of sexuality and immigration. His primary research site is the greater Los Angeles area, where he interviewed many immigrant men and participated in organizations and community activities alongside his informants.

Sure to fill gaps in the field, The Sexuality of Migration simultaneously complicates a fixed notion of sexual identity and explores the complex factors that influence immigration and migration experiences.


  • "In this path-breaking book, which is startling for what it reveals and what it innovates, Cantú shows how sex and the state are intimately related in one of the greatest dramas of our time, international migration. The Sexuality of Migration is a work of inspiration, integrity, and scholarly creativity.”

    —Perrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, author of God’s Heart Has No Borders: How Religious Activists Are Working for Immigrant Rights