Amor Y Esperanza: A Latina Lesbian Becomes a Law Professor
Writing about my presence in the legal academy is about identifying the act of resistance in simply being myself as a Latina lesbian who was trying to develop as a feminist legal theorist when I thought about law teaching as a career in the late 1980s. Now recently retired, I can be grateful that I became a law professor at a time when fairly serious efforts were being made to diversify law faculties with the hiring of more women and racial and ethnic minorities. But in 1991, when I entered the academy as an assistant professor, not many law professors were openly gay or lesbian and writing about LGBT issues. In the same way that I didn’t apply to law school thinking, “I’m going to be a law professor,” I didn’t think about the implications for my entering the academy as not only an out-of-the-closet marimacha (colloquial Spanish for lesbian), but also as someone proud to be Latina-Mexicana and committed to research and writing as a feminist scholar. At my first law teaching job as an assistant professor, I was especially unprepared for the rejection I experienced of many facets of my non-white-not-male personal and professional identity. Therefore writing this essay feels like another act of resistance and courage to again embrace my personal identity. It’s an opportunity not only to reflect on the journey that allowed me a career as a feminist Latina lesbian teacher and scholar, but also to express gratitude for those who supported my journey, including the AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues.