Gloria Anzaldúa.was a pioneer of intersectionality. Her writings brought together gender, Chicano/a studies, queer theory, and spirituality. Her work and focus on raising awareness for the struggles of women of color and queer women helped change the way feminism dealt with the difficulties of intersectionality, and gave more focus to groups that had previously been ignored.
Anzaldúa was an important figure in the Chicano and Chicana movement. Her academic works helped articulate the struggle in establishing a Chicana identity through a mix of poetry and prose. Her work deals with the development of her identity as a woman, a Chicana woman, and a lesbian, and the issues with those intersections. She was heavily involved in political activism and consciousness-raising, frequently establishing herself as a resource for young women of color and queer youth struggling to find a place for their identities.
Anzaldúa was deeply committed to opening up feminism and constructing a broader, more multicultural and inclusive movement. She was extremely dissatisfied with the lack of work by or about women of color on feminist issues. To fill this gap, she and Cherríe Moraga edited a collection of works in what is now recognized as a critically important piece of feminist canon, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. The works in this anthology focused on the experiences of women of color and posed a challenge to the traditionally accepted white feminist establishment. Anzaldúa called for greater presence of women of color, queer women, and other underrepresented voices to be given a greater place in feminism. Anzaldúa and this anthology ultimately set the stage for the emergence of third wave feminism.
Anzaldúa writes in a complex blend of styles and forms, frequently mixing Spanish, English, and dialect variations as well. Her intent is to mirror the process that feminists must go through to establish their ideas despite the patriarchy’s influence.
Gloria Anzaldúa died May 15th, 2004 but her work continues influence the feminist movement today.