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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight Lesbian and Bisexual Female American Literature since Stonewall
 
  Politics is implicit in much of the Lesbian Literature that immediately followed the Stonewall Riots. The "new," reactivated, women's movement had as much to do with the tone and character of lesbian writing during these years as the developing (largely male) gay liberation movement. In more recent years, lesbian literature has grown to address more diverse themes, though much of it remains politically inflected.  
 
 
  Lesbian African-American Literature African-American Lesbian Literature is often as concerned with racism as it is with sexuality, causing many writers to construct Afrocentric sexual identities that affirm the power of black women.  
 
 
  Paula Gunn Allen Paula Gunn Allen (b. 1939) is a poet and literary scholar of mixed Native American, Scottish, and Lebanese heritage. Her writing reinterprets the historic and mythic beliefs of Native Americans from a twentieth-century Lesbian-Feminist perspective.  
 
 
  Dorothy Allison Dorothy Allison (b. 1949) is a South Carolina native who refuses to write didactic or romantic illustrations of the lesbian experience, focusing instead on the sheer survival of her lesbian characters in the hostile environment of Southern working-class families.  
 
 
  Lisa Alther (b. 1944) is a novelist who creates fictional worlds in which lesbianism is a fluctuating force as tenuous as all other forms of relationships in a frequently absurd universe.  
 
 
  Gloria Anzaldua Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004) was an American Latina lesbian editor and writer who connected racism and homophobia to posit a political queerness that interconnects with all struggles against oppression.  
 
 
  June Arnold (1926-1982) was a lesbian and feminist novelist and publisher who gave voice to complicated characters who previously had no voice in literature.  
 
 
  Asian American Lesbian and Gay Literature gives voice to richly multiple and diverse identities as they assert sexual autonomy in the face of stereotyping, homophobia, and racism.  
 
 
  Lesbian Autobiography Lesbian Autobiography has moved from being coded to being outspoken during the first century of its existence. It is both wide ranging and contradictory in the stories that it tells.  
 
 
  Alison Bechdel Alison Bechdel (b. 1960) is best known for her long-running Comic Strip Dykes to Watch Out For, but she is also a graphic novelist. Her graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006), details the pains and joys of growing up, coming out, and discovering that her father was also gay.  
 
 
  Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is widely acknowledged as one of the finest twentieth-century American poets. Bishop encoded a lesbian identity in her poems both before and after Stonewall.  
 
 
  Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999) was a matriarch of Fantasy Fiction who also authored Lesbian Paperback Pulps and articles for The Ladder and Mattachine Review. Her lifetime output of more than 70 novels spanned multiple genres and inspired an ardent fan base.  
 
 
  Olga Broumas (b. 1949) is a Greek-born lesbian poet and translator who writes openly erotic poems that combine ancient Greek echoes and late twentieth-century idiom.  
 
 
  Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) is a lesbian poet and novelist best known for Rubyfruit Jungle (1973), a highly successful novel. A prolific writer, Brown articulates a lesbian voice that resists neat categorization: nonetheless, a voice that began the tradition of the lesbian picaro, the proud lesbian "hero."  
 
 
  Patrick Califia (b. 1954) is a gender outlaw and sexual anarchist who is controversial for defending Sadomasochism and Pornography. His gender reassignment added to his reputation as a defender of individual freedom.  
 
 
  Jane Chambers Jane Chambers (1937-1983) was one of the first American playwrights to create openly lesbian characters who were comfortable with their own homosexuality.  
 
 
  Michelle Cliff (b. 1946) is at once a child of privilege as a light-skinned woman and an outsider because of her embrace of her African heritage and her lesbianism. This combination gives her a unique perspective on post-colonial society in the Caribbean.  
 
 
  Comic Strips, Cartoons, and Graphic Books have a foot in both the literary and art worlds. They have served for decades as a powerful tool of satire and humor in the glbtq community.  
 
 
  Diane DiMassa Diane DiMassa (b. 1961) is best known as the creator of the controversial and widely popular Comic-zine Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist, a project that was born during a stint in rehab.  
 
 
  Elana Dykewomon Elana Dykewomon (b. 1949) presents the lesbian as an active, dynamic hero on center stage in her poetry and prose.  
 
 
  Leslie Feinberg Leslie Feinberg (b. 1949) is a political organizer, Marxist, grassroots historian, accomplished writer, pioneer of Transgender Activism and culture, and the author of several widely praised books about transgender issues.  
 
 
  Katherine V. Forrest (b. 1939) is a writer and editor who has played a major role in bringing lesbian fiction to the forefront of the Mystery and Science Fiction genres.  
 
 
  Gay and Lesbian Bookstores arose in the 1970s. They have served as incubators for the literary and cultural development of the modern gay rights movement in the United States and abroad.  
 
 
  Elsa Gidlow (1898-1986), known to many as the "poet-warrior," was unabashedly visible as an independent woman, a lesbian, a writer, and a bohemian-anarchist at a time when such visibility was both unusual and potentially dangerous.  
 
 
  Jewelle Gomez Jewelle Gomez (b. 1948) seeks to merge her black, feminist, and lesbian identities into an indivisible whole in her poetry, fiction, and essays.  
 
 
  Judy Grahn (b. 1940) has been an effective leader in the lesbian and gay rights movement. Her identity as a lesbian and a feminist has infused all of her works, in both prose and poetry.  
 
 
  Barbara Grier (1933-2011) was a bibliographer, reviewer, collector, editor, and co-founder of Naiad Press who was an important nurturer of lesbian literature.  
 
 
  Doris Grumbach (b. 1918) treats homosexual relationships matter-of-factly as an integral part of the human landscape in her novels, especially those based on the lives of actual people.  
 
 
  Bertha Harris (1937-2005) was one of the most stylishly innovative American fiction writers to emerge in the wake of Stonewall. Her experiments with the form of the novel were unlike any other examples of "new lesbian fiction" that had been published prior to her work.  
 
 
  Ellen Hart Ellen Hart (b. 1949) is a prolific mystery writer who has published two extremely successful series of novels and has been honored with five Lambda Literary Awards for Lesbian Mystery Fiction.  
 
 
  Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was an acclaimed Mystery writer who wrote one explicitly lesbian novel, as well as the popular series featuring the amoral bisexual Tom Ripley. Many of her novels have inspired film adaptations starting with Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951).  
 
 
  glbtq Historical Fictions Glbtq Historical Fictions creatively interweave fiction with facts in ways that have not only won them a large readership but also have offered that readership insightful illuminations of glbtq histories.  
 
 
  Humor unique to the glbtq community has helped make our marginal social status endurable and has also been used defensively toward the rest of the world to disarm adversaries with laughter.  
 
 
  June Jordan (1939-2002) called for the rejection of stereotypical views of bisexuality in her poetry and her essays, rejecting restrictive labels and exclusionary political positions based on sexuality, color, class, or nationality.  
 
 
  Journalism and Book Publishing have been important in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and in the development of a national mass movement for glbtq rights.  
 
 
  Latina Literature is a fast-growing, vibrant, and diverse literary tradition that offers readers innovative models for creating alliances among diverse peoples.  
 
 
  Ursula Le Guin Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929) has written poetry, criticism, several volumes of short stories, and some sixteen novels, the most famous of which fall within the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.  
 
 
  Gay, Lesbian, and Queer theory are related practices, but the three terms delineate separate emphases marked by different assumptions about the relationship between gender and sexuality.  
 
 
  Audre Lorde Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a writer and activist who identified as a black feminist lesbian poet warrior. By recognizing that her blackness and her lesbianism were not separate, she unified both struggles.  
 
 
  Mabel Maney Mabel Maney (b. 1958) is a San Francisco artist and satirist who spins lesbian Mystery adventure tales out of perky feminine archetypes from the 1950s and 1960s.  
 
 
  Anyda Marchant and Muriel Inez Crawford Anyda Marchant [Sarah Aldridge] (1911-2006) and Muriel Inez Crawford (1914-2006) were pioneering Lesbian-Feminist publishers who co-founded Naiad Press. Under the pen-name Sarah Aldridge, Marchant also wrote best-selling Romance Novels.  
 
 
  Paula Martinac Paula Martinac (b. 1954) is a writer whose career has been devoted to exploring and documenting the place that lesbians occupy in society, history, and the family.  
 
 
  Mary Meigs (1917-2002) was an American-born painter who emigrated to Canada. She is best known for her literary contributions and her feminist activism on behalf of elderly lesbians.  
 
 
  Kate Millett Kate Millett (b. 1934) is a bisexual feminist literary and social critic best known for her pioneering critique of patriarchy in Western society and literature, Sexual Politics, which appeared in 1970.  
 
 
  Cherrie Moraga Cherríe Moraga (b. 1952) defines her experience as a Chicana lesbian in her own works. In her capacity as editor/publisher, she provides a forum for traditionally silenced lesbians of color.  
 
 
  Lesbian Mystery Fiction most often reflects a political stance, but the most effective lesbian crime novels have been those that have most enthusiastically embraced the need to entertain readers.  
 
 
  Native North American Literature Native North American Literature from the two-spirits of traditional culture to contemporary writers has produced a considerable body of gay and lesbian literature.  
 
 
  Joan Nestle Joan Nestle (b. 1940) has devoted her life to promoting awareness of glbtq culture and advancing glbtq equality through her writing, teaching, editing, and activism.  
 
 
  Leslea Newman Lesléa Newman (b. 1955) is a prolific Jewish femme Lesbian-Feminist writer of poetry, fiction, and children's books who draws on her own multiple identities to describe the complex tapestry that results when a variety of identities are woven together.  
 
 
  Lesbian Novelists from the modernist writers of the 1920s and 1930s to the pulp writers of the 1950s to the lesbian writers of today have had a powerful impact on the lesbian community. By depicting different versions of the lesbian experience, they have enriched lesbian culture.  
 
 
  Mary Oliver (b. 1935) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. Though she has not been an outspoken lesbian activist, her poetry is deeply resonant with contemporary lesbian consciousness, and many lesbians claimed her as one of their own before she publicly came out.  
 
 
  Suze Orman Suze Orman (b. 1951) rose from hardscrabble roots to become a financial manager, radio and television personality, and best-selling author in the field of personal money management.  
 
 
  Sheila Ortiz-Taylor Sheila Ortiz-Taylor (b. 1939), a prolific writer and respected teacher, has bracketed her career with groundbreaking achievements. Her first novel is considered the first lesbian novel with a Chicana hero; more recently she has worked as a senior activist and helped create a place for elderly lesbians in retirement homes.  
 
 
  Camille Paglia Camille Paglia (b. 1947) is a social philosopher, literary critic, gadfly, and an unlikely media star. Her frequently outrageous cultural commentary and caustic criticism have made her both famous and controversial.  
 
 
  Lesbian Poetry has generally trended to become collective and political since the 1960s.  
 
 
  Political Blogs have greatly increased the number of voices participating in glbtq activism and help expedite the transmission of political information to glbtq communities.  
 
 
  Minnie Bruce Pratt Minnie Bruce Pratt (b. 1946) is an award-winning author who has written moving and erotic poems and stories that explore sex and gender issues, as well as powerful essays that decry bigotry in its many forms.  
 
 
  Adrienne Rich Adrienne Rich (1929-2012), who aestheticized politics and politicized aesthetics, is America's most widely read lesbian poet. In what can only be called the most distinguished of careers, Rich, from her earliest to latest publications, garnered awards and fellowship support including the National Book Award and two Guggenheim Fellowships.  
 
 
  Romance Novels featuring queer characters have recently come into their own as queer relationships have grown more visible and commonplace.  
 
 
  Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) who wrote poetry that breaks the silence of many aspects of female experience has been enormously important to many feminist and lesbian readers.  
 
 
  Jane Rule (1931-2007) wrote novels and criticism that deal forthrightly with lesbian and gay subjects, bur her work is deliberately nonpolitical.  
 
 
  Joanna Russ (b. 1937) is outspokenly lesbian and feminist in both her Science Fiction and her criticism.  
 
 
  Sadomasochistic Literature, one of the most controversial forms of lesbian and gay writing, confronts such issues as domination, submission, uniformity, and humiliation and poses a constant challenge to them.  
 
 
  Sapphire Sapphire (Ramona Lofton) (b. 1950) is a bisexual African-American novelist, poet, and performance artist who came to public attention with works that focus on the harrowing realities of inner city existence.  
 
 
  May Sarton May Sarton (1912-1996), who gradually revealed her lesbianism in her writing, worked successfully in poetry, the novel, essays, and the journal.  
 
 
  Sarah Schulman Sarah Schulman (b. 1958) is an author and playwright concerned with constructing a lesbian identity around and against the multicultural identities of New York.  
 
 
  Science Fiction and Fantasy writers have openly and seriously explored issues of gender and sexual orientation beginning with the "new wave" in the 1960s.  
 
 
  Ann Allen Shockley (b. 1927) is a popular short story writer and novelist, as well as librarian, critic, and editor. Shockley's work addresses both interracial and lesbian experiences.  
 
 
  Susan Sontag (1933-2004) wrote perceptively on gay male figures and issues though she treated her own lesbianism as a strictly private matter.  
 
 
  May Swenson (1913-1989), one of America's most inventive and incisive poets, wrote many love poems celebrating lesbian sexuality.  
 
 
  Paula Vogel Paula Vogel (b. 1951) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose work has tackled difficult topics, including AIDS, incest, and prostitution.  
 
 
  Patricia Nell Warren Patricia Nell Warren (b. 1936) is the author of significant novels about American gay culture that exemplify popular adult and young adult mainstream fiction.  
 
 
  Fran Winant (b. 1943) is a poet, painter, and activist whose poetry and visual art have helped define the role and sensibility of lesbians especially during the 1970s and early 1980s.  
 
 
  Terry Wolverton Terry Wolverton (b. 1954) is a writer, editor, teacher, and performance artist who has worked to document glbtq history and increase the visibility of the community.  
 
 
  Jacqueline Woodson Jacqueline Woodson (b. 1963) is a prize-winning author of books for young adults who gives voice to a complex range of both straight and gay characters.  
 
 
  Lesbian and Gay Young Adult Literature--books targeted at readers aged twelve and up--ranges widely in sensitivity, topic, quality, and political and social insight.  
 
 
 

 
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