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Gay Pride Month
LGBTQ Writers of Immanence

Gay Pride Month
  • Orlando: A Biography (by )
  • The Intelligent Heart the Story of D. H.... (by )
  • Winter of Artifice; Three Novelettes (by )
  • Washington, D. C. : A Novel (by )
  • Renascence: And Other Poems (by )
  • Women In Love (by )
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June was designated as Gay Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969, a series of days that marked the breaking point of tensions between the LGBTQ communities and the New York City Police Department. It was the first major protest for LGBTQ rights in history.

LGBTQ rights advanced since then, but by no means is the conversation over. In the late 90’s, author and journalist Dan Savage wrote in the Queer Edition of The Stranger that pride could be a double-edged sword, one that countered the shame that society imposed on the LGBTQ community (and still does in many areas), but could easily become a cul-de-sac in which to languish rather than a thoroughfare to further progress. Savage wrote, “What matters is how a person is gay, not that a person is gay.”

In looking back at LGBTQ authors (especially pre-Stonewall riots authors, where being out and proud was much more difficult, to say the least), one might take a different perspective of interest on both their works and their lives. Some wrote under the repression of never coming out. Some wrote under the rebuke of having already come out. Some wrote without the vocabulary, thought-structures, or science we have today to discuss and understand complex issues of gender and transgender. Others were fortunate enough to write and be openly queer, while still others held secret affairs, while on the surface attempting to hold together a surrogate marriage. 

There are fewer better ways to see with the eyes of another person than through his or her own written words. So with Savage’s thoughts in mind, here are a small handful of LGBTQ authors who are always worth revisiting:

  • Virginia Woolf depicts in one of her best books Orlando, the life of a sex-changing poet and aristocrat, loosely based on her real life friend and lover Vita-Sackville West. The book challenges the 18th and 19th century roles of women.
  • Gore Vidal was an American author and public intellectual of the 20th century who authored the famous war-influenced, gay novel The City and the Pillar. His work also made many contributions to political thought, and his novel Washington D.C. is commonly recognized as his most incisive take on the degradation of American politics. 
  • A Cuban American raised in France and of bohemian lifestyle, Anais Nin’s ancestry alone seems to have marked her as a singular person. Her second work of fiction, Winter of Artifice, includes three novelettes. The few copies of this book in existence were almost lost entirely due World War II.
  • D.H. Lawrence’s books are some of the first modern novels to champion against censorship. In his book, Women In Love, Lawrence writes an intensely psychological story of the relationships between men and women and the role industrialization played on society’s evolving sense of love.
It makes sense that many of our greatest poets and writers we still study today were LGBTQ. It is, in many respects, a battle for the real estate of the meanings of words and a mission of building bridges with words and subsequent understanding that can legitimize the plight of others in the public eye. In other, more private regards, the writing is an act of meditation that can lead one to psychological release as well as the dissolution of societal barriers. For further readings, check out The Intelligent Heart, a biography of D. H. Lawrence by Harry T. Moore, and Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

By Thad Higa
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