LGBTQ Writers, journalists and poets who have had an impact on literature

By: Michela Melzi

Oscar Wilde:

Oscar Wilde was an anglo-irish author, playwright and poet greatly regarded for his works including The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest. Wilde was a proponent of the aesthetic movement. After graduating from Oxford University, Wilde lectured as a poet and art critic.

In 1891, he published The Picture of Dorian Gray and was considered immoral by Victorian critics but is now one of his most popular works. As a dramatist, Wilde wrote many satirical comedies and many of his works had homosexual undertones. During his time, Wilde refused to accept his sexuality until in 1895, he went through a two year imprisonment for having an affair with a young man on charges of “gross indecency”. He was sentenced to hard labor and died in poverty at the age of 46, three years after being released. Now, some consider Oscar Wilde an inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community as being homosexual has been a companion to his success. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray: The Picture of Dorian Gray was the only novel written by Oscar Wilde. The novel is a moral fantasy novel in which Dorian Gray, a young man, sells his soul to remain young and beautiful. This happens while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, reflecting his true self. 

Virginia Woolf:

Virginia Woolf was an english writer who is considered one of the most innovative writers of the 20th century. Her most popular modernist classics include Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). She also wrote pioneering essays on artistic theory, literary history, women’s power and the politics of power. In her work, Woolf captured the fast-changing world in which she was working.

She touched upon gender roles, sexuality, social classes and more. Despite being married, Woolf carried out various close relationships with women throughout her lifetime. It is rumored that Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West served as inspiration for the protagonist of her novel Orlando. In her life she suffered from deep depression leading to her suicide in 1941 at the age of 51. 

Mrs Dalloway: Mrs Dalloway is a novel that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class housewife, as she prepares for a party she is hosting that evening. However, in her mind, Clarissa is flooded with remembrances of faraway times causing her to reexamine the choices that brought her there. The novel is narrated in third person but it changes its focus throughout. Clarissa is a seemingly disillusioned socialite whose mood drastically changes. It is believed that Mrs Dalloway had symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Leroy F. Aarons: 

Leroy F. Aarons was an American journalist, editor, author and playwright born in 1933. He was a pioneer in the effort to bring greater visibility to gay and lesbian journalists who worked to improve coverage including gays. Aarons worked at The Post for many years as an editor and national correspondent and covered significant events like the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F. Kennedy. Aarons founded and was president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association in 1990. Before his death, he was the director of a program on gays and thee media at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles. 

Aarons believed that the LGBTQ community could advance if the news media fairly and accurately portrayed the lives of the LGBTQ individuals and their issues. For this he worked in training camps for young journalists with the goal of improving and increasing coverage.


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