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Celebrating Gay and Lesbian Writers: National LGBT Pride Month

Gay and Lesbian Writers

June is LGBT Pride Month, and so we’re here to celebrate LGBT writers and literary magazines.

Writers of the LGBT community have long had a profound impact on literature of all kinds. To commemorate their contributions and Pride Month, here’s our (abbreviated!) list of famous GLBT writers (and/or writers who have expressed attraction toward people of the same gender).

List of Some LGBT Poets And Writers

W. H. Auden (1907–1973), English poet

James Baldwin (1924–1987), African American author, wrote Giovanni’s Room (1956)

Truman Capote (1924–1984), American writer, wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and In Cold Blood (1966)

Emily Dickinson (1830–1886), American poet

E. M. Forster (1879–1970), English author, wrote Maurice (1972)

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), American poet, wrote Howl (1956)

Alan Hollinghurst (b. 1954), English novelist, wrote The Line of Beauty, winner of the 2004 Booker Prize

D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930), English author, wrote The Rainbow (1915)

David Sedaris (b. 1956), American author, speaker, comedian

Maurice Sendak (1928–2012), American author and illustrator, wrote Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946), American author, wrote The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933)

Alice Walker (b. 1944), African American author, wrote The Color Purple (1982)

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Anglo-Irish writer, wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Jeanette Winterson (b. 1939), wrote Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985)

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List of Literary Journals And Magazines Dedicated To GLBT Writers

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender writers are fortunate these days because there are a good number of literary journals dedicated to LGBT issues and writings. Here are just a few of the many that are out there (and accepting submissions!):

Assaracus – The only print journal in the world dedicated to poetry of gay men.

Bloom – An active journal that was “founded to support the work of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered writers and artists and to foster the appreciation of queer literature and creation.”

Blithe House Quarterly – An online mag with a tagline that says it all: “queer fiction lives here.”

Chelsea Station – An online magazine devoted to gay literature.

Educe – An online journal whose tagline is “Literary. Intellectual. Queer.”

FourTwoNine – A quarterly print magazine and daily website covering art, culture, style, entertainment, and politics with a sophisticated queer edge.

Gay & Lesbian Review – This lively magazine has a broad scope and a strong mission: to “provide a forum for enlightened discussion of issues and ideas of importance to lesbians and gay men; to advance gay and lesbian culture by providing a quality vehicle for its best writers and thinkers; and to educate a broader public on gay and lesbian topics.”

Gertrude – This nonprofit is intent on “showcasing and developing the creative talents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer-identified, and allied individuals.”

Glitterwolf Magazine – A UK-based literary and arts magazine that publishes the best poetry, fiction, art, and photography by contributors identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Iris Brown Lit Mag – A nonprofit print publication celebrating literature and art that explores the histories, cultures, experiences, and sensibilities of women who identify as LGBTQIA.

Lavender Review - Established in 2010, this literary journal is “an international, biannual e-zine dedicated to poetry and art by, about, and for lesbians, including whatever might appeal to a lesbian readership.”

Mary – An online lit mag whose mission is “to showcase Queer/Gay writings of artistic merit.”

Oasis – A queer youth magazine that also provides space for online journaling and expression.

Polari Journal – A journal to showcase emerging, developing, and established writers as a means of bringing readers and writers together in mutually enriching ways. Polari publishes the best writing by and about LGBT persons.

RFD - This unique magazine is “a country journal for gay men everywhere.”

Sinister Wisdom – According to the site, this is “the oldest surviving lesbian literary journal—now celebrating 30 years.”

Skin to Skin – “A quarterly coffee table magazine for women of the LGBT community, mixing poetry and prose with the artistry of the female art form.”

Wilde Magazine – Founded in 2012, their goal is to offer a queer perspective on life through art and writing.

NOTE: We’re using LGBT and GLBT interchangeably and intentionally.

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: Do gay and lesbian characters ever play a role in your writing? Feel free to add to our list of LGBT poets and writers in the comments below.

26 Responses to Celebrating Gay and Lesbian Writers: National LGBT Pride Month

  1. It’s great to see so many journals dedicated to GLBT issues! And I LOVE this list of writers. David Sedaris is one of my all-time favorite creative nonfiction authors and humorists.

  2. I haven’t written any GLBT characters yet, but I’m open to writing or reading about them. I’m waving my Pride flag :)

  3. I’ve written GLBT characters into almost all my stories. Not so much by intention, but because they’ve jumped out and proclaimed ‘this is who I am, write me that way!’

    A few characters in the novel I’m currently focusing on are gay or lesbian, including the two protagonists.

  4. Babs, thanks for the comment! It’s good to see you’re enjoying the development of your unique characters so thoroughly.

  5. I began a story last year about a family headed by an oddly-addled father. I originally thought that his teenage daughter would be a “questioning” character, trying to consider if she liked girls. Early this year, I discovered that I needed to elaborate on her character, and it has now developed into an entirely new story revolving around her and her coming-out as lesbian. I’ve not dropped the original idea, but I’m very much focused on her now. It’s fascinating to get into her mind, and it’s also most enjoyable.

  6. I so appreciate this list. Though I’m well acquainted with the authors listed, your list of literary journals and magazines is a great find! I’m sorry to say that I didn’t know they existed before but it’s perfect for me as I not only look for the perfect audience for my own stories with LGBT main characters but also look for exceptional work to read. Many thanks!

  7. Babs, I somehow neglected to tell you how much I liked your comment. It is so beneficial to incorporate LGBT characters, no matter the genre. As you noted, some of them simply jump out! I had no intention of going into detail on the lesbian daughter of my original story’s protagonist; but she forced herself out of my imagination onto the page! And I love it!

  8. Jake, I am happy to see your commentary and pleased to see that you regularly have LGBT characters. I’m just getting into my stories, and found that my characters insert themselves before I’ve even fleshed them out!

  9. Even though I am not LGBT, I have featured a (male) gay couple in my novel MARCEL’S GIFT. They are a major part of the sub-plot and impact the life of the main character.

  10. Hello,
    I’m a gay author who often tackles issues important to our community. I recently completed a project where, as a gay author, I read the Bible for the first time and blogged about my experience. My first novel, Regret, is a gay-themed thrilled set in Philadelphia. It’s available on iTunes and Amazon.

  11. Wonderful list of LGBT writers and magazines that publish LGBT work. You did leave off two writers. Virginia Woolf and Anne Sexton, the poet, both of whom were noted to be Bisexual.

    I am a bisexual poet and short fiction writer. My poetry at times drips with lesbianism. So far, LGBT issues and characters have not made it into my short fiction. Something I need to remedy!

  12. What a great list. Always makes me proud to see these greats showcased and acknowledged for their contribution to literature and to history. And of course there are so many more poets and writers that didn’t get to the fame level as these and are part of our literary history.
    Many of my short stories and poems contains lesbian and gay characters. My collection of poems, A Born-Again Wife’s First Lesbian Kiss is definitely autobiographical!
    Thanks WR for showcasing these greats for Pride Month!

  13. Has anyone else read the new booked benefiting The Trevor Project titled, “Reflections of a Desperate Soul”? Just wondering what others thought before I read it.

  14. I was asked at the beginning of the year to write some poems for LGBT for greeting cards.I myself am bi sexual and married. I created a logo for my company and would love to submit my work to someone who can help me get it out there. I don’t have familial support with this and I stumbled upon your website looking for the Dandelion Project after watching the documentary. If you have any suggestions, my ears are open.

  15. Glad to know that there are these magazines! I have a number of gay-oriented stories and now I know where to send them. Thanks!

  16. All my characters are gay and none of my characters are gay, according to how you want to see them. I restore the Greek myths of male love, have published one collection (“Lovers’ Legends: The Gay Greek Myths”) and I am planning a second edition with three more myths, tentatively titled “School for Love”. You can read one of the newly restored myths at my Academia website.

  17. I have a gay-themed short story I’ve just written. As such, I thought it best to send it to a gay-themed literary magazine. I figured there was, like, one, and I’d send it there. Now I find there are many. Do some of these have better reps than others. Should I send the same story to all of them? Anyone know the answer?

  18. I write a series where the two main characters are lesbians. The first novel is set during World War II in German Occupied Greece.

    The first novel is called “In the Blood of the Greeks” and that is free on my site along with book 2 of the series “Where Shadows Linger”.

    Thank you for the chance to highlight my work and for the links above.


  19. I’m currently writing an LGBT novel, a romance where one of the men is HIV positive. I’m aiming for a modern look at HIV, it’s come from spending a few year working in a HIV charity. But being a straight woman I do worry that I may end up making my characters either to stereotypical, or perhaps to feminine or even just too cute. It could be argued that I leave it to people who have lived it but then that’s the whole point about writing, you don’t have to have been to space to write Star Trek. So, all I can do is carry on and see where it takes me.

  20. Great list of LGBT-focused publications, thanks so much for putting it together. Your work and effort is appreciated.

    Perhaps a writer/director of documentaries is not specifically an author, but John Mulholland is gay and writes/directs documentaries. His latest, released last year — Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen — is utterly brilliant. Explores the long friendship between Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway.

    Perhaps because Mulholland does not explore the LGBY arena in his documentaries, he is rarely cited among gay artists. His only work which touches on LGBT is one he did on Liza Minnelli. It is not even strictly a documentary, rather a long interview, in which Minnelli is alone on screen for a full hour. She had been in a bad way, but had committed to the shoot long before. Mulholland was brought in when she demanded the director be gay. The original director was let go and the openly gay John Mulholland took over.

    Many say that there are scads of gay references, double entendres, hidden gay meanings, etc. Given that Minnelli demanded an openly gay director, this is very likely so. Would like to see Mulholland take on an LGBT-themed story. He would naill it!

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