According to Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, “Pride is protest.” While we may be past Black History Month and Pride Month, there’s never a wrong time to celebrate who you are. Reading gives us a means of exploring identity in ways unmatched by any other medium. Black queer authors have a rich history of engaging with what it is to be Black, queer, and the intersection therewithin. Below is a quick list of Black queer authors you should check out.
Describing herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde was a feminist, activist, and writer known for combining her technical grasp of language with deep, profound emotion. Through her poetry, essays, and speeches, Lorde confronted a multitude of injustices – including racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia. In 2019, she was posthumously inducted into the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor, which celebrates LGBTQ “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes.”
Where to start: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Sister Outsider, Collected Poems of Audre Lorde
Novelist. Essayist. Playwright. Poet. Activist. James Baldwin did it all, and did so with such exacting standards, untangling the intricacies of oppression for all of America to see. In his fiction, Baldwin’s protagonists (mostly Black and gay or bisexual men) often face seemingly insurmountable barriers on their path toward acceptance – both socially and internally. His essays explored similar themes, highlighting the complexities of social pressures. Along with Lorde, Baldwin was posthumously inducted into the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor in 2019.
Where to start: Giovanni’s Room, The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It on the Mountain
A relative newcomer to the literary world, Kacen Callender has received critical acclaim throughout their career. Many of Callender’s works are for younger audiences, having written two books for middle school readers and two young adult novels. Their most recent young adult novel, Felix Ever After, is about a teen grappling with being Black, queer, and transgender, and his pining for romance and self-acceptance.
Where to start: Felix Ever After, Hurricane Child, King and the Dragonflies
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Who are your favorite authors? Did we list your favorite? Be sure to check out our blog for more lifestyle topics and posts about local events.