Writer, Scholar, Activist

Writer. Poet. Professor. Activist.

Meliza Bañales aka Missy Fuego is the author of Life is Wonderful, People are Terrific (novel, Ladybox Press), Say It With Your Whole Mouth (poems, Monkey Press) and has work in Without A Net: The Female Experience of Growing-Up Working Class (edited by Michelle Tea), Baby, Remember My Name: New Queer Girl Writing (edited by Michelle Tea), and The Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Change, Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders of the Spoken-Word Movement (edited by Alix Olson).

She was the first Chicana/Latina on the west coast to win a poetry slam championship in 2002, has toured with Sister Spit and Body Heat, and gained national recognition for her appearances on NPR and The Lesbian Podcast.  Her short film with J Aguilar entitled “Getting Off” won the Jury Award at TG Fest: The Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival in 2011.

Meliza Bañales’ stories of growing up Chicana in LA break you open then stab you in your flaming heart with a switchblade. The only girl whose lines make me cry. Every time.
— –Lynn Breedlove, lead singer of Tribe 8, Winner of a 2010 Lambda Literary Award