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Photograph of Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz Assoc Professor Department of Sociology

PhD, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

MA, California State University--Humboldt

BA, Universidad de Puerto Rico--Recinto de Río Piedras

Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Favorite Spot on Campus
the small garden on the way to the Amphitheater
Book Currently Reading
Being Brown: Sonia Sotomayor and the Latino Question, by Lázaro Lima (
Dr. Vidal-Ortiz's scholarship cuts across racialization, sexuality, gender, migration and religion; his work is interdisciplinary. He coedited two award winning books: The Sexuality of Migration, and Queer Brown Voices, co-authored a book with two former students, Brandon Andrew Robinson and Cristina Khan, titled Race and Sexuality, and is completing a book manuscript about race, gender and sexuality in Santería (an Afro-Cuban religious-cultural practice).

Within the American Sociological Association (ASA), he was recently voted Chair-elect of the Latina/o Sociology section; in the past, he has served as convener (and first non-elected Chair) of the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment section, is Past Chair of the Sexualities Section, and served as inaugural editorial board member for Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, from the Race and Ethnic Minorities section (where he was a Council member as well). In 2018, he served as tri-chair for ASA's Sexualities Section Pre-conference: Sexualities, Race, and Empire: Resistance in an Uncertain Time. Outside of the discipline, he was an inaugural editorial board member for TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly; he also co-edited a special issue of GLQ: Gay and Lesbian Studies Quarterly, on CuirAméricas as part of the Feminist and Cuir/Queer Américas Working Group. In DC, he has supported community-based groups such as Different Avenues -see related essay on Public Sociology- and the Latino GLBT History Project.

He continues Fulbright-based research on displacement and LGBT people in Bogotá, Colombia. With Juliana Martínez, he edited Travar el Saber: Educación de Personas Trans y Travestis en la Argentina (loosely translated as Trans-ing knowledge: trans* people’s education in Argentina) - based on narratives from students and teachers that show the challenges and opportunities of trans-inclusion in three public education sites in the greater Buenos Aires province. He has taught sociology of race and ethnicity at University of Colorado - Boulder; in Colombia, a qualitative research methods course for the graduate social sciences program at Universidad de Los Andes; one on migration, gender and sexuality for the Masters in cultural studies at Universidad Javeriana, also in Colombia; and in Brazil, a course on race, gender and sexuality inclusion in education for the Masters in Education at Universidade Federal Do Amapá.

He has received a few important honors and fellowships recently: during Fall 2019, he held a Distinguished Scholar in Residence position in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program at the College of the Holy Cross; for Spring 2022, he was the Stephen O. Murray Inaugural Scholar in Residence at Michigan State University; and during AY 2023-24, he is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at University at Buffalo.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • 2023. [with Natalia Ruiz-Junco]. “W.E.B. Du Bois as interactionist: Reflections on the canonical incorporation of a marginalized scholar.” Symbolic Interaction 46, 3: 332-348.  
  • 2023. [with Juliana Martínez]. “From rage to love: Travesti-centred education in Argentina.” Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning 23(3): 263-270.  
  • 2022. [with Cristina Silva & Michelle Newton-Francis]. “Negotiating Racialized Organizational Spaces and Intimacies: An Ethnography of Erotic Labor at The Playpen Strip Club.” Gender, Work and Organizations.
  • 2021. [with Juliana Martínez]. “Travar el saber: Travesti-Centred Knowledge Making and Education.” Bulletin of Latin American Research, 40, 5: 665-678.  
  • 2021."A Sea of Whiteness: Teaching Sexuality through a New Sociology at a USAmerican University." Teaching Sociology 49, 4: 223-232.  
  • 2021. [with Pierce, Joseph M., Maria Amelia Viteri, Diego Falconí Trávez & Lourdes Martínez-Echazábal, eds.] Special Triple Issue - “Cuir/Queer Américas: Translation, Decoloniality, and the Incommensurable.” GLQ: A journal of lesbian, gay, and queer studies (USA); El Lugar Sin Límites (Argentina); Periódicus (Brazil).  
  • 2021. [with Mendieta, Andrés] “Administering Gender: Trans Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Challenges in Argentina.” International Journal of Transgender Health 22, 1-2: 54-64.  
  • 2020. [with Moussawi, Ghassan]. “A Queer Sociology: On Power, Race, and Decentering Whiteness.” Sociological Forum 35, 4: 1272-1289.  
  • 2020. “Transgender Movements.” Pp. 463-479 in Companion to Gender Studies. Edited by Nancy A. Naples. Wiley/Blackwell.  
  • 2020. [with Giancarlo Cornejo Salinas and Juliana Martínez]. “LGBT studies without LGBT studies: mapping alternative pathways in Perú and Colombia.” Journal of Homosexuality 67, 3: 417-434 (Special Issue: 25 years of Gay and Lesbian Studies).
  • 2019. “Rejoicing on Lionel Cantú’s De Ambiente: Queer Tourism and the Shifting Boundaries of Mexican Male Sexualities.” GLQ: Gay and Lesbian Studies Quarterly (Special 25th Anniversary issue of GLQ): 25, 1: 73-77.

  • 2018. [with Gloria González-López]. “Sociology of Sexualities, Latinas and Latinos – A review of the Field.”Sexualities 21, 8: 1282-1286. (Special Issue: 20 years of sexualities studies). 

  • 2018. [with Juliana Martínez]. “Latinx Thoughts: Latinidad with an X.” Latino Studies 16, 3: 384-395.

  • 2017. [Review essay]. "Caribglobal: Colonial desire, transgression, exclusion, and belonging in the Caribbean." WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 45, 1-2: 310-315.  
  • 2016. “Sofía Vergara: on media representations of Latinidad.” Pp. 85-99 in Race and Contention in Twenty-first Century U.S. Media, Jason Smith and Bhoomi K. Thakore, (eds). Routledge Transformations in Race and Media Series. Routledge.       
  • 2015. [with José Fernando Serrano]. “Masculinities, “Profeminism,” and Feminism in Latin America.” Pp. 321-340 in The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements, Wendy Harcourt and Rawwida Baksh (eds). Oxford University Press of America.       
  • 2014. [with Fernanda T. Bianchi, Carol A. Reisen, Maria Cecilia Zea, Felisa A. Gonzales, Fabián Betancourt, Marcela Aguilar, and Paul J. Poppen]. “Sex Work Among Men Who Have Sex With Men and Transgender Women in Bogotá.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 43: 1637-1650.
  • 2014. “Foreword.” Pp. ix-xvii in Desbordes: Translating Racial, Ethnic, Sexual, and Gender Identities across the Americas, by María Amelia Viteri. New York: SUNY Press.    
  • 2014. Keyword: “Whiteness.” (Inaugural Issue: Keywords in Trans Studies.) TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. 1, 1-2: 264-266.
  • 2013. [with Brandon Andrew Robinson] "Displacing the Dominant Down Low Discourse: Deviance, Same-sex Desire, and" Deviant Behavior 34, 3: 224-241.     
  • 2011. Presentación del Dossier: :"¿Cómo se piensa lo queer en América Latina?" ("How is 'queer' thought of in Latin America?") Iconos 39: Revista de Ciencias Sociales 15, 1: 47-60. (edited special issue with María Amelia Viteri and José Fernando Serrano).   
  • 2011. [with Natalia Ruiz-Junco]. "Autoethnography: the sociological through the personal." Pp. 193-211 in New Directions in Sociology: Essays on Theory and Methodology in the 21st Century, edited by Ieva Zake and Michael DeCesare. McFarland Publishers.  
  • 2010. “Blurring the boundaries of being, the field, and nation: Puerto Rico, the Bronx, and Santería.” Pp. 197- 219 inFieldwork Identities in the Caribbean, Erin B. Taylor, ed. Caribbean Studies Press.   
  • 2010. [with Tomás Almaguer, Héctor Carrillo, and Carlos U. Decena]. “Revisiting Activos and Pasivos: Towards New Cartographies of Latino/Latin American Male Same-Sex Desire.” Pp. 253-273 in Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. Marysol Asencio (ed). Rutgers University Press.    
  • 2009. “The figure of the trans-woman of color through the lens of ‘Doing Gender.’” Gender & Society, 23, 1: 99-103.  
  • 2008. “The Puerto Rican way is more tolerant: Constructions and uses of ‘homophobia’ among Santería practitioners across ethno-racial and national identification.” Sexualities 11, 4: 476-495.  
  • 2008. “Transgender and Transsexual Studies: Sociology’s Influence and Future Steps.” Sociology Compass, 2, 2: 433-450.  
  • 2006. [with Ananya Mukherjea]. “Studying HIV Risk in Vulnerable Communities: Methodological and Reporting Shortcomings in The Young Men’s Study in New York City.” The Qualitative Report, 11, 2: 393-416.   
  • 2004. “On Being a White Person of Color: Using Autoethnography to Understand Puerto Ricans’ Racialization.” Qualitative Sociology, 27, 2:179-203.   
  • 2004. “Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Speaking Spanish.” Latino Studies, 2, 2:254-8. 
  • 2002. “Queering Sexuality and Doing Gender: Transgender men’s identification with gender and sexuality.” Gendered Sexualities (Advances in Gender Research, Volume 6). Pp. 181-233. Patricia Gagné and Richard Tewksbury, eds. NY: Elsevier Press.

  • 2001. “A World of Its Own, Not the Best of Both Worlds.” [Bisexuality in the US: A Social Sciences Reader.Paula C. Rodríguez Rust, ed. (2000).] Journal of Sex Research, 38, 3:271-273.

Research Interests


Race/Ethnic Studies; Puerto Rican and Latino Studies; Racialized Sexualities; Sexuality Studies; Transgender/Transsexual Studies; Queer Theory; Qualitative Methods, Autoethnography.


Body/Embodiment; HIV/AIDS; Social Policy; Applied Research; Migration; Religion.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • 2022 - Society for the Study of Social Problems, Sexual Behavior, Politics, and Communities Division for Outstanding Article Award: "A Queer Sociology."  
  • 2022 - American Sociological Association (ASA) Sociology of Sexualities Section, Honorable mention, for best article: "A Queer Sociology."  
  • 2022 - ASA Race, Gender and Class Section, Honorable mention, for best article: "A Queer Sociology."  
  • 2022 - Inaugural Scholar-in-Residence, Stephen O. Murray Fellowship, James Madison College, Michigan State University.  
  • 2019 - Distinguished Faculty-in-Residence, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, College of the Holy Cross.  
  • 2016 - American Anthropological Association (AAA) Association for Queer Anthropologists, Winner, Ruth Benedict Book Prize, Outstanding Edited Volume, for Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism (University of Texas Press, 2015)  
  • 2011 - Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Alternate  
  • 2010 - The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, A Division of the Institute of International Education. Location: POntificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia.  
  • 2010 - ASA Sociology of Sexualities Section, Winner, Best Book Award, for The Sexuality of Migration. (New York University Press, 2009)  
  • 2010 - Honorable mention, Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Latino Studies Section, for The Sexuality of Migration. (New York University Press, 2009)  
  • 2010 - LASA, Sexualities Studies Section, Winner, Carlos Monsiváis Best Social Science Academic Essay, for “Revisiting Activos and Pasivos: Towards New Cartographies of Latino/Latin American Male Same-Sex Desire.” in Latina/o Sexualities. (Rutgers University Press, 2010)  
  • 2009 - Faculty Award. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center, AU  
  • 2008 - Distinguished Faculty (single faculty award, University wide), Multicultural Affairs/International Student and Scholar Services, American University  
  • 2006 - Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) of the City University of New York. Paul Monette-Roger Horowitz Dissertation Award.  
  • 2005 - Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) Rose Laub Coser Dissertation Proposal Award.  
  • 2004-5 - Society for the Study of Social Problems Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Scholarship  
  • 2004-5 - American Sociological Association (ASA), Sociology of Sexualities Section,Martin P. Levine Memorial Dissertation Fellowship  
  • 2003-4 - Social Science Research Council, Sexuality Research Fellowship Program, Dissertation Research Fellow   
  • 2004 - ASA Race & Ethnic Minorities Section, James E. Blackwell student paper, honorary mention: “On being a white person of color: using autoethnography to understand Puerto Ricans’ racialization” (published in the journal Qualitative Sociology)  
  • 2002 - ASA Sociology of Sexualities Section, student paper, winner: Sexuality, gender, and race: LGBTs at the crossroads of Santería religious practices and beliefs  
  • 2002 - Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Student Research Grants 

Media Appearances


  • Podcast with host Lezli Levene Harvell, in the Iconoclast Dinner Experience, Impolite Conversations Series. Episode #11: Hamburgers and Hot Dogs Are German...You Know That, Right? Vol 3: Hierarchy In Academia, Parallels in LGBTQ Community, Latine + Latinx. (September 2020). Found here:

  • Interview appeared on August 1, 2019, in Radio Caput, within the "Fluid gender" radio section (a local Buenos Aires radio program focusing on LGBT issues).  Discussed the state of affairs in Puerto Rico and LGBT activism on the Island leading to the resignation of the governor.

  • Interview appeared on November 9, 2018, on the launching of "Travar el Saber," in Radio En Casa (Radio at Home - a local Buenos Aires radio program focused on LGBT issues.)

  • Interview appeared on July 11, 2011 in Centro Latinoamericano en Sexualidades y Derechos Humanos. “Sexualidad y Migración.” (Migration and Sexuality.) Conducted by Franklin Gil Hernández (Published in Spanish, Portuguese, and English).
  • Interview appeared on May 5, 2011 in Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Radio. “The Javeriana Academy.” Discussed gender/queer studies in relation to the University’s curriculum and activism (a Jesuit University that had, in 2011, significant, visible LGBT programming).

  • Interview appeared on September 22, 2009 in Religion Dispatchers.“Animal Sacrifice and Sexuality in Santería.” Conducted by Nick Street. 
  • Interviewed September 17, 2007, Telemundo, Inc. - Segment on DC metro area Black/Latino relations and recent tensions between both groups, as part of an exploration of possible coalitions. TV appearance: November 2007. 

  • Interviewed April 11, 2006 in Escucha y Ponte Trucha. Hosted by Radio Campesina (a southwest radio station focusing on immigrant populations). Discussed the impact of immigration on the sexuality, gender relations, and sexual education of Latin American immigrants. 


Contributor (in both English and Spanish) to blogs including Feminist Reflections, Inside Higher Ed, and 80 grados:  

Dismantling Whiteness in Academe: Part 2 - April 2018

Dismantling Whiteness in Academe - November 2017  

Rage About “Diversity” - September 2017

Trans-feminisms, sociology, and the coalitional social justice work (that never ends) - March 2017

On Being Latino in Academe - September 2016 

Diana de Santa Fé - July 2016  

Queer-Orlando-América - June 2016