Carla Barbosa* -
Raquel Pedercini -
Toni Liechty -
Lesbians are a group who face great level of discrimination and leisure constraints because of the intersection of sexism and homophobia (Skeggs,1999). LGBTQ oriented environments can help these women to cope with marginalization and stress (Mock & Hummel,2012). Social-cultural contexts, however, greatly impact the perception of these constraints and the possibilities of negotiation (Chick & Dong,2005).
In Brazil, because of the high level of miscegenation among the major racial groups, the concept of 'race' is very imprecise (Santos,2006). Nevertheless, racism often results in 'non-white' people holding an inferior socio-economic status. Brown people are, however, associated with stereotypes of hyper-sexuality, arousing erotic curiosity toward them and giving back some social power in heterosexual and homosexual contexts (Simões,2010). Being 'butch' or 'femme' also affects social power because, in a homophobic context, being able to 'pass' as heterosexual guarantees sexual control over men and power over masculinized women (Aguião,2008).
This study, therefore, will explore the culture and the interactions among women in the only lesbian nightclub in the third biggest city in Brazil. The absence of other lesbian environments promotes encounters between white, brown, black, poor, rich, butch, femmes, heterosexual and homosexual women. Although power relations in leisure settings have been discussed in the literature (Taylor,2007), little attention has been given to contexts in which the intersectionality of race, socio-economic status, and sexuality present such a mixture of variants as in Brazilian culture. This study will provide insight into meaningful encounters among diverse populations that are worth noticing by other countries.