Julio Capó, an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, shared his ongoing research on late-twentieth century politics in South Florida and Cuba with faculty members and students at Yale on October 11, 2016. A prizewinning teacher and scholar, Capó offered a transnational account of regional anti-LGBT efforts that focused on elected officials in Florida, Catholic clergy, Cuban and Cuban American leaders, ballot initiatives in Dade County, and more. He showed that anti-gay politics in Miami and Cuba shared common rhetoric from the 1960s forward about child protection, national strength, religious faith, and democratic participation, and that debates about sexual difference became critical to Cuban American political involvement in Florida by the late-1970s.
Capó discussed efforts to identify and remove gay and lesbian teachers from classrooms; amendments to county human rights ordinances; the Catholic press; and Florida political campaigns focusing on abortion rights, gun control, feminism, and English-only legislation. He argued that this political backdrop is critical for understanding more recent developments and challenges in both Cuba and the United States.
Capó is the author of the article “Queering Mariel” published in 2010 in the Journal of American Ethnic History, winner of the Carlton C. Qualey Memorial Article Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. His forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland: Miami’s Queer Past from 1890 to 1940 (University of North Carolina Press), highlights how transnational forces from the Caribbean have shaped South Florida. His articles have appeared in Diplomatic History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of American Ethnic History, and American Studies, as well as The Washington Post, TIME, The Miami Herald, El Nuveo Día, and The Hampshire Gazette. He contributed to a recent National Park Service initiative to preserve and interpret historic sites related to LGBTQ histories in the United States.
Julio Capó’s talk, “Male Virility is a Cultural Tradition: A Transnational History of the New Right’s Attack on Sexual Difference in Cuban Miami,” was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM) at Yale; the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS); the Wallace-Sexton Fund for LGBT Studies at Yale; and the Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities (YRIHS).