A queer Chicana poet, activist, educator, and radical thinker, Gloria Anzaldúa stood proudly at the intersections, the borders and lands beyond them, the in between and the previously unwritten about. She contributed greatly to queer and feminist theory as a woman of color who grew up quite literally at the border where South Texas and Mexico meet and blend.
Anzaldúa was one of the first queer women of color to bring the theory of intersectionality to the forefront, a critical concept developed and worked on by many contemporary scholars today. Along with Cherríe Moraga, Anzaldúa co-edited the groundbreaking anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, which featured various women, genderqueer, and gender-non-conforming authors of color writing about their personal experiences as people occupying multiple, intersecting (oppressed) identities.
Along with popularizing and visibilizing the concept of intersectionality, Anzaldúa also introduced the theory surrounding mestizaje, related to the idea that there is a space beyond binary (either/or, black/white, man/woman) in life and academic discussion. Much of her academic and personal life was dedicated to challenging the binary “status quo” of racial divisions and toward social justice movements committed to radical societal transformation.
Sources: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua, University of Michigan “Chicana Feminism” curriculum, American Studies Association