Anel I. Flores’ areas of study and production of literary fiction and visual art center around Chicana/Latina literature, lesbianidad, sexuality, gender, race/border/diaspora, spirituality, body, blood memory and their connection to identity. She is an MFA in Creative Writing. She is Co-Reviewer and Co-Committee Member of El Mundo Zurdo Conference organized by the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa, Board Member of Macondo Writer’s Workshop, Founder of Queer Voices Speak Out, Co-Founder of LezRideSA, and a member of the San Antonio Mayor’s LGBTQIA Task Force. Flores was awarded Women’s Advocate of the Year 2018 from University of Texas San Antonio, the Nebrija Creadores Award from the Universidad de Alcala de Henares in Madrid, Spain, was named Best Of San Antonio Local Author 2017, the Chingona in Literature Award 2016, the Ancinas Award at Squaw Valley, the NALAC Fund for the Arts Award, the Accion Women Inspiring Women Award, the Yellow Rose of Texas Educator Award, and the Mentorship Leadership Award from the National Performance Network. She is co-editor of forthcoming Jota Anthology with Korima Press and author of Lambda literary award nominated book Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas. Among various anthologies and magazines, Flores’ work can be found in Camino Real , the Fifth Wednesday Journal, RiverSedge Literary Journal, Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art with UT Press, The Jota Anthology, Queer Spiritualities, Rooted: A Queer Women of Color Anthology, El Mundo Zurdo Anthology, The Brillantina Project, Sinister Wisdom, This City Is A Poem, Raspa Magazine, OutInSA Magazine, iungo Arts Magazine, the Lodestar Quarterly, The Pitkin Literary Review and La Voz de Esperanza. Her play Empanada toured for 8+ years throughout the University and Theater circuit and continues to be produced today. She is currently in the process of completing her forthcoming book, Cortinas de Lluvia, a series of Children’s books and a graphic memoir titled, Pintada de Rojo. Her teaching career includes 11 years the public high school/college/university, along with 4 years in Arts Administration, and continuous community literary workshops.
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 show the truths of how the butch/women/queer “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, binary thought 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.
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.