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"border crossing identities" topic.

"Border Crossing Identities"

Often we use labels to describe others, and ourselves such as "I'm an immigrant," "I'm mixed," "I'm Latin@," "she's a mom," "they are queer," "he's Mexican-American," "she is a veteran."

This is not the whole story for any of us. Our identities are not confined by these labels. We have multiple layers to who we are, and we do not leave some of them behind simply because  we cross the door to a place where  our full selves  are not fully understood. We bring all the complexity of our identity with us wherever we go.

It is a marvelous thing when we are able to navigate our different worlds with our entire self, while still understanding the nuances of each world. For instance, I do not leave my Colombianess behind once I step out into my English speaking community, and I cannot loose all the experiences that I have lived till today just because I am in a different environment. I’m able to gain from all of those experiences and understand how they can inform who I am in each circumstance.

I like the possibility that our identities are born in the space created between those labels, in the 'borderlines" between the descriptions giving us the chance to self-identify and self-describe how and when we want. Writers, thinkers and social scientists bring up the borderline concept to us when discussing how people of multiple backgrounds self-identify, and especially writer and cultural theorist Gloria Anzaldúa with her Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza work. She shares how we can move across race, gender, and geographic borders and build our own identities, and she introduces the term "border crossing identity,” I like using this term to go beyond physical and geographic aspects of identity and takes us more to those in-between spaces of all those classifications and levels given to us. In addition, I like to think of what social scientist Maria Root refers as standing with “two feet on one border” instead of having one foot in one side and the other foot in the other side, which can divide us. Having your two feet in one side, allows you to be present with your whole humanity and identity.

How does your “border crossing identity” look? How do you stand with your “two feet on one border” and then jump seamlessly to another? Who are you?

Show us how you self-represent in the multiplicity of identities by submitting your creative work to be displayed in our online gallery, or organizing your own pop up museum. Click the links below for more information.