Gay Organizations, NGOs, and the Globalization of Sexual Identity: The Case of Bolivia



This paper combines an ethnography of sexual activities, personal identities and social relations of men-who-have-sex-with-men in Bolivia with an analysis of attempts by government and international development agencies to create a demographically identifiable population of "gay" Bolivians. A first person account of attempts to establish gay identity through a gay community center in Santa Cruz reveals failure to attract all but a select group of the broadly diverse actors potentially involved. In short, men-who-have-sex-with-men who were too rich or too poor or too masculine or too effeminate were unlikely to be attracted to the gay center or welcomed as members of the emerging "gay community."