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6 Classic & Contemporary LGBT Authors To Check Out Before Pride Is Over

Six is the queerest number. That's a fact.

Rainbow pride flags fly outside the Stonewall Inn as crowds begin to gather to celebrate Pride Month on June 26, 2019 in New York City. Thousands of members of the LGBTQ community have been gathering outside of the historic gay bar in Greenwich Village to celebrate the 50th anniversary of riots at the inn, which many people consider the birth of the modern gay rights movement in America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Pride has become a big time for companies to market LGBTQ things to our community, because nothing says equality like pandering for capitalism. In those moments I find myself reaching out to queer authors of today and yesteryear as a reminder of both the progress we have made and the things that are still affecting our community. The history of gay literature is long and this list is by no means complete and I tried to get a variety of diversity in the list, but please add more–add so much more!

(1) Leslie Feinberg (September 1, 1949 – November 15, 2014):

Leslie Feinberg was a butch lesbian, transgender activist, communist, and author most known for the seminal lesbian text Stone Butch Blues which was published in 1993. She was born in Kansas City and raised in Buffalo, New York in a working-class Jewish family. Feinberg was also a member of the Workers World Party, and her 1996 non-fiction collection Transgender Warriors, helped begin a lot of meaningful conversation about what it meant to be “trans” it is dated, but there is still a lot of really poignant conversation in it.

According to The Advocate, her last words were reported to be, “Hasten the revolution! Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

(2) S. Bear Bergman (September 22, 1974 —):

Bergan is a trans male author, poet, playwright, and theater artist who is best known for his first book, Butch Is A NounHe has done a lot of work dealing with the intersection of what it means to be Jewish and queer. Bear was one of the five original founders of the first Gay/Straight Alliance, and frequently lectures at high schools and colleges on how to make making schools safe for GLBT students.

(3) Djuna Barnes (June 12, 1892 – June 18, 1982):

Barnes is best known for the 1936 novel Nightwood, which is one of the earliest prominent novels to portray explicit homosexuality between women. Her writing has been influential to writers from Truman Capote and Dylan Thomas to David Foster Wallace, and Anaïs Nin.

(4) Audre Lorde (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992):

One of the most important feminist authors of the century, Lorde was a Black New Yorker of immigrant parents whose work defined Blackness, queerness and the intersection between race and sexuality for an entire generation. Her two most well-known works are Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, which is her autobiography about growing up in 30s/40s Harlem, and Sister Outsider, a collection of essays that touch on everything from sexism and racism to homophobia, and classism. Lorde was the poet laureate of New York before her death in 1992.

(5) Anna Seward (December 12, 1742– March 25, 1809):

Seward was an English Romantic poet in what is dubbed the “long-eighteenth-century”  and a true lesbian icon. In her youth, she was described as a “precocious” and “sensitive redhead” (relatable) and had a great passion for learning. Her father, while progressive in many ways, did not support her writing career and tried to suppress her poetry. Still, she managed to publish several pieces, most notably, the poetical novel, Louisa, and her work was widely read despite the weird space female authors occupied then. Romantically, she remained obstinately single throughout her life, despite being a precocious redhead and was really outspoken about not being a fan of marriage. Through her letters we know that she was attracted to Honora Edgeworth, who was her best friend, and was distraught when Edgeworth married and went to Ireland. Again, relatable.

(6) Mariko Tamaki (b. 1975): 

This awesome Canadian artist and writer has worked for both DC and Marvel, the excellent Lumberjane novels, and one of my favorite graphic novels this year: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. She’s also worked on our collective fav She-Hulk, so if Marvel is looking for a woman to tap for a She-Hulk movie, we got a contender right here.

Honorable mentions: Susan Sontag, Shyam Selvadurai, Aphra Behn, and George M. Johnson.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ authors?

(image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.