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Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) was an American scholar of Chicana cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. She loosely based her best-known book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, on her life growing up on the Mexico–Texas border and incorporated her lifelong feelings of social and cultural marginalization into her work. She also developed theories about the marginal, in-between, and mixed cultures that develop along borders.
In the same way that Anzaldúa often wrote that she felt that she could not be classified as only part of one race or the other, she felt that she possessed a multi-sexuality. When growing up, Anzaldúa expressed that she felt an "intense sexuality" towards her own father, animals, and even trees. She was attracted to and later had relationships with both men and women, although she identified herself as a lesbian in most of her writing. Anzaldúa wrote extensively about her queer identity and the marginalization of queer people, particularly in communities of color.
Anzaldúa self-identifies in her writing as a feminist, and her major works are often associated with Chicana feminism and postcolonial feminism. Anzaldúa writes of the oppression she experiences specifically as a woman of color, as well as the restrictive gender roles that exist within the Chicano community. In Borderlands, she also addresses topics such as sexual violence perpetrated against women of color.
Anzaldúa died on May 15, 2004, at her home in Santa Cruz, California, from complications due to diabetes. At the time of her death, she was working toward the completion of her dissertation to receive her doctorate in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was awarded posthumously in 2005.
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