Anel I. Flores is a trans-, queer Latina/x writer, artist, activist, entrepreneur, and coach; whose extensive body of work captures the essence of LGBTQIA+ experiences across professional and community spaces. Their areas of expertise encompass various themes such as Latina/x literature, sexuality, gender, race/border/diaspora, spirituality, self discovery, and radical love. They hold an MFA in Creative Writing, having penned notable works like chapbook "La Fea" and Lambda literary award-nominated book, "Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas.” Their upcoming novel, "Cortinas de Lluvia," set to be released in 2024, along with Empanada’s 2nd Ed., doubled with its Spanish translation. Anel's literary contributions can be found in esteemed publications such as Switchgrass Review, Camino Real, the Fifth Wednesday Journal, RiverSEdge, Entre Guadalupe y Malinche, Rooted: Queer Women of Color Anthology, Sinister Wisdom, Raspa Magazine, iungo Arts Magazine, the Lodestar Quarterly, The Pitkin Literary Review, and La Voz. Beyond literature, Flores's artistic prowess extends onto the stage and in museums. Her play, "Empanada," was recently produced by the acclaimed SA Public Theater, in its 20th year of production; their visual art hangs in galleries, universities, academic journals, and on the covers of several texts, and they have delivered Keynote addresses in the US, Spain and France. Furthermore, Flores is the founder of LezRideSA, Queer Voices Speak Out, and La Otra Taller Nepantla Residency. Her relentless efforts have earned her numerous accolades, including distinguished writer in residence at Our Lady of the Lake University, fellow with the Southwest Folklife Alliance, the Catalyst for Change Award, Women's Advocate of the Year, the Nebrija Creadores Award, Best of San Antonio Author, Chingona in Lit Award, Ancinas at Squaw Valley, NALAC Fund for the Arts, Accion Women Inspiring Women, Yellow Rose of Texas Award, and the Mentorship Leadership Award.
While for all women, our sexuality, gender variance, gender exploration, and body love is viewed by many as residing in the margins, on the fringe and shamed, I work to produce truths of how the butch/queer/nonman/mujer- “me”- labors to learn, to wonder, to survive, to maneuver, to birth and to celebrate body. With my work I offer an access point for viewers to investigate how sensory, spirit, environment and memory are recalled in the body.
My story compels the aspects of my artistic practice, in which I question my own authenticity and prove that identity is not static, but enacted, forced, shaped, influenced, evolved and changing, as we peel the layers of cemento smeared over our ever growing walls. I break into the walls which I have erected to protect myself from outside opposition such as homophobia, transphobia, cis-heteronormativity, colonization, sexism, rape, patriarchy and violence. I do not claim to know how or what process is right, but I do know that it is through my use of accessing blood memory, living memory, listening and documenting, I am able to create narrative imagery to claim as identity - for at least the moments it takes me to create them.
In my newest work, I return to my past life, when I didn’t have the tools to understand why opposition existed. Born into the delegitimizing forces of colonization, I aim to highlight the various trajectories I traveled, seeking “worth.” During my process, fingering through scene by scene, I am reminded of the laboring hours, days and years I have spent and still spend rebuilding, repairing, reclaiming, examining and differentiating what is real and what is a trigger, a scar, another brick, in my life’s journey toward identity and gender. My work engages me, the subject and researcher, in the transitional time travel beyond lifetimes, forward and back, of identity, while also exploring how said subject embodies their body, in the present moment, on it’s spectrum.
I am a lesbian, queer, woman story maker. My work manifests itself as drawings, chapters, and poems. My work is a continuation and evolution of the conversations started by the Chicana movement in art and literature, now infused by latinx, transfeminism, intersectionality, and queer politics and resistance. As a cultural producer, I am driven by a sense of urgency to record and create queer visual and literary work as a continuous reflection and questioning of self-representation, aiming at discovering (and recovering) the history, dynamics, and complexities of relationships with others, self, memory and future.
My work demands that sexuality, gender and our bodies are crucial players in health, existence, spirituality, strength, etc., worthy to be studied, examined, and honored.
I am not going to make it, I thought, cramped between the black railing of the fire escape balcony and the wire winding staircase pouring down against four stories of red brick stacked together to form my then college residence hall. I was 18, on my own, and had no way down or no one to call. What I thought were red and blue police lights, flickered through the tops of the trees, on the other side of the food hall, two buildings away. My girlfriend escaped through the building’s inside staircase when she heard her mother’s voice calling up from below. “Come down here, or I am going to call the police,” I think I remember her saying. I didn’t know enough back then, to know how to defend myself from police and homophobic mothers.
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