When You Bring Back The Dead, I Will Wear A Dress


There are only three things I remember about our short two years in Dallas: 1. Being sent home from preschool for eating the wallpaper off the classroom corner I was sent too for talking too much, 2. Jumping off of our fireplace, onto the vacuum and crashing my head into a stone corner bathed in blood, and 3. Wearing this dress.

My mami made me wear this dress, de Jalisco, in preparations for a folklorico dance class she had enrolled me in. I was four years old, and she stood me in front of our new house for over an hour, trying to get me to smile. She sang. She waved. She fake laughed and even guffawed. She danced, and even called my sister to try and joke with me but nothing worked. Nothing inside of me was charged with happiness. Our whole family had just been plucked from Brownsville, TX and transported to Dallas; ten long, flat, boring hours from mi primer amor, my grandma Olivia. I was miserable without her and Dallas was cold, something I was not used too. The dress was itchy and my body felt trapped. All together, the days before this picture was taken was a recipe for disaster.

Looking back at the photo, I can see the beauty my mami wanted to capture, the cultura she wanted to awaken and preserve in me, especially so far from our bordertown. I can see the tenderness she used to approach me and I can see the beauty of the danza of my ancestors. She posed me perfectly, with my hands on the dress like I was about to break out in a full on baile, but I wouldn’t smile. For an entire hour, I wouldn’t smile. As the story goes, she wasted a few polaroids on my frown, until she finally said, “I’m sending this one to your grandma!” And, I smiled just like that.

Fifteen years ago my grandma died. She never saw the smile I wear today, comfortable in my butch body, in love with Erika, raising two brilliant young women, reading my sexy lesbiana stories to grandmas and grandkids, all in pants and button downs, with a skin tight fade – never a dress. But, I’d wear this dress again, if I had a chance to share with her a polaroid of how I turned out today, but only then would I wear a dress.

Anel I. Flores
(c) Sept 10 2018

Women’s Advocate of the Year 2018

Gracias to UTSA’s Women’s Studies Institute, for Awarding me Women’s Advocate of the Year. The first time I produced Empanada, with an all woman cast, crew and team, was on the UTSA stage during Women’s History Month. They have always done “work that matters,” and I commit to continuing to doing the same through my writing, art and activism. Thank you again, UTSA. It is an honor to be recognized by such a fine program of amazing people.

Say What Now:

Panelists Anel Flores, Jamaal Alejandro, and organizers from SATX4 will break down the question, “What is making you ask . . . Say What Now?!” We’ll be talking social justice and how to hold onto hope. The event will also feature performances by, Dre Lavelle, Mr.Composition (Kevin Prince), Kinyo and Veronica Leno with closing remarks by Laura Thompson.

#Dream WeekSA

Laura Thompson, Dre Lavelle, Lu Vee, Kathryn Pearl, Anel Flores, Jamaal Alejandro Haffner & Franque Michele Bains
Writers Having their Say

Poetix En Flux

Reading from #EntreGuadalupeYMalinche with the glorious work of Nansi Guevara at my back. Amazing evening with Polly Anna Rocha and Michael Martinez for a reading of queer voices. #PoeticEnFlux #lgbtqauthors #rgvartist #xicanoart #fronterista #empanadabook @cortinasdelluvia #lesbianaliteratura



foto by prima: Lucy Garcia !

It’s Not Okay: A Response to a Donald Trump Presidency

It’s Not Okay
A Response to a Donald Trump Presidency

I called my mom because I longed for the feeling of being a baby, a feeling of being held, a space to safely crumble and cry. And, like any sweet loving mami who raised me on fresh frijoles, beans and kindness she asked, “Are you okay?”

I said “no,” and wanted to tell her why. She interrupted me before I could elaborate or have any feelings.

She told me, “We need to pray mija. The virgencita, Jesucristo is there waiting for us to give this election up to them.”

“No, but mami, I am scared,” and, she continued, “I know, I know, that’s why our Lord wants you to go to him.”

I kept saying “I am scared. I am scared,” in my head. I wanted desperately for her to hear me, wanted her to just listen, like I wanted her to listen when I was scared twenty-three years ago, alone in my dorm, afraid because the student from Lubbock across the hall told me I was going to hell. But Mami stopped talking to me back then, after she found out I was gay.

I told her again, “Mami, I am scared of all the hate in the world right now,” and she interrupted, “Mijita, I am praying for our world, praying for the evil.” And, I remembered when I was told by praying people that I was evil for being gay, a disgrace, disgusting, committing mortal sin. Then I remembered that our soon to be vice president said those same words about me and all my LGBTQIA hermanas and hermanos, my brown, black and Muslim familia, my sisters, and my gente coming to the US for dreams of peace. Then I remembered my Mami is not the mean man I am afraid of.

She loves me, but somewhere in all the battles she had to fight, between being punished for speaking Spanish, degraded by her white teachers, segregation, Vietnam, her ovarian cancer, the Cold War, sexual assault from a superior, her lesbian daughter and the things she has packed away behind survival, somewhere she became so scared she stopped fighting. I reminded myself that my Mami has come a long way, gone through a lot, loves my wife, my daughters and me very much, so I tried again. “I am scared, Mami,” I said, and “and our babies are scared too. They are afraid, too.” I assumed my Mami would understand because she held my brother to her chest and promised to leave the country if he was called away to the Vietnam War. She was terrified and felt the way I feel today, so I tried again. “Mami, I am scared of Donald Trump and the people he is feuling,” I said, but something wouldn’t let her hear me, something wouldn’t let the fear in and she interrupted again before I could continue. “Mijita, we have to pray.”

I just wanted her to say she was going to come over, maybe make me caldo or sit with me, but she didn’t. I wanted her to say she was ready to fight for me, but she didn’t. The mocos broke up into my nose and I wanted to tell her how scared I was yesterday but she kept praying and telling me it would be okay. And, under my breath on the other side of the phone I said, “But I am scared Mami. I was scared to hold Erika’s hand at the grocery store, yesterday, Mami, just getting out of the car.” And, I wanted to tell her that I let go of my wife’s hand in the parking lot when a huge pickup truck pulled up in front of us because I imagined someone jumping out to beat us, like I had seen done before years ago to a transgender woman. I wanted to cry and release my fears, but she didn’t let me speak. She told me again, “Mija, it will be okay,” and started to say goodbye. “Tell Erika and the girls I love them, mija,” and I wanted her to stay on the phone so I could tell her that I was even afraid to go to the bathroom alone at the grocery store, afraid someone would tell me I couldn’t go to the women’s bathroom, but she didn’t hear me. She told me it would be okay.

Then, I hopped on another call with a family member and said I was scared, hoping to be heard, hoping for a soft place to land, but again it didn’t happen.“I know, I know it’s hard Anel, but we are going to be okay.”

It was not okay when the old white man told my precious, sacred wife, “Let me take you both home to feel what a real dick feels like.”

It was not okay when the male coach told me at a pep rally he wanted to “rip the principal’s red leather pants off and fuck her in the custodial closet.”

It was not okay when my young, gay student was tormented by groups of boys near the library over and over until one day he never returned to school. Only to hear he died in the bathroom of causes we were never told, but a rope burn around his neck.

It was not okay the day we realized there needed to be a suicide hotline just for LGBTQIA kids.

It was not okay when my wife’s ex-husband found it easy and fail-proof to use our racist and homophobic laws to threaten my wife with the custody of their children and deportation.

It was not okay when an adult man dragged my thirteen-year-old body to the beach, jammed his hand into my pants and my face into his. And it wasn’t okay the three other times this same thing happened, at 6, 11 and 16.

It was not okay when our friend’s daughter’s breasts are being poked at in hallways and a football player is telling her she has to send naked pics of her body or else he will spread rumors about her.

It was not okay when our daughter’s friend was raped in her dorm room by a swimmer at a Texas University and he got a slap on the hand. She dropped out of school because she was pregnant.

It was not okay when I held my father’s gun to my head because I believed my body was fat, dirty and ugly, and my soul was not worthy of living.


It is not okay that when you started reading this a woman was sexually assaulted in america and since then, two more, and before you are done at least one more will be raped, grabbed, penetrated, beat against their will or hit.

It is not okay, so do not tell me it is.
I am scared.
I have a right to be.
And, I am not going to just pray.
I’m going to yell right back at the man who comes at me next time.
I am going to gather people together so we can walk hand in hand.
I am going to give my gente a safe place to land in our home.
I am going to write our truths until someone listens.
I am going to walk with you to your car so no one can lay a hand on you.
I am going to be a phone call away when you want to tell me how scared you are.

When the moon is up, our mijas are sleep and sound,
and all the hours of work my body can take for that day are out,
I’ll pray.

This is not okay.
If you don’t believe me, read this again.

#dumptrump #antitrump #nevertrump #imwithher #lgbtcontratrump #LesbianAgainstTrump #LatinaContraTrump #lovetrumpshate #trumpprotest

WATCH: Lesbiana Artist Anel Flores Reflects on Orlando Shootings

Lesbiana Artist Anel Flores Reflects on Orlando Shooting from Rivard Report on Vimeo.

Video by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

Latino Artists Tell ‘Nuestra Historia

Latino Artists Tell ‘Nuestra Historia’

Eight different stories were told to an intimate group at the Central Library Thursday night, but a collective story of struggle for space, freedom through art, and perseverance was told. In the section of the library that will soon be known as the Latino Studies Collection Space, dozens listened to local and national Latino artists, scholars, activists, educators, […]

Photo Credit: by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone