BROWN AND GAY IN LA
The Lives of Immigrant Sons
by Anthony Christian Ocampo
NYU Press. 207 pages, $28.
SOCIOLOGIST Anthony Christian Ocampo’s Brown and Gay in LA strikes close to home on so many levels. The author grew up in Eagle Rock, a neighborhood of Los Angeles next door to where I live now. The impetus for this research project began during his graduate student days at UCLA as he was exploring his own sexuality in West Hollywood. While preparing his dissertation (published in 2016 as The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race), Ocampo was also meeting some of the Filipino and Latino gay men who would later become his informants for the current study. He and they recount their nights at the gay clubs of WeHo, as well as the discos catering more specifically to Latinos or Asians. That took me back to my own euphoric times at Circus Disco and Arena—huge Hollywood nightclubs that were demolished in 2016 to make way for luxury condos.
Ocampo (now a sociology professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona) formalized the project to focus on second-generation Filipino-American and Latino (primarily Mexican) men who identified as “gay” (or in a few cases “queer”).
Vernon Rosario is a child psychiatrist with the Dept. of Mental Health in L.A. and an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA.