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The Best LGBT+ Writers, Ranked

“Some of the literary world's best talent has come from gay writers” says ‘Ranker’ and they are absolutely right. Throughout the years there have been many writers who have expressed an interest in same-sex relations, whether openly gay or not.

All of the writers ranked below are known for their creativity and talent in the written word, are worshiped by readers around the globe and some of their work is being taught in schools in different countries. 

Here is a list, according to Ranker.

12. Federico García Lorca

Doña Rosita the Spinster, The House of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding

Federico Garcia Lorca was born in Spain in 1889. His homosexuality is something he struggled with his whole career and still many don’t consider him an LGBT+ poet. But his homosexuality was occasionally reflected in his work. It has been said that “for decades Spain’s literary establishment, and even his own family, refused to acknowledge that the country’s best-loved poets, Federico Garcia Lorca, was gay.”

11. Marcel Proust

In Search of Lost Time, Swann in love, Le Temps Retrouve

French novelist Marcel Proust is considered one of the greatest modern writers. His masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, is known for its depictions of homosexuality. There are gay, lesbian and bisexual characters. Proust was never open about his sexuality but it was known by his acquaintances that he was gay.

10. Arthur Rimbaud

A Season in Hell, Illuminations, Collected poems

Arthur Rimbaud, called the father of surrealism, is a French poet who shocked artists in London and Paris in the late 19th century with his openly gay lifestyle. His romantic relationship with fellow poet Paul Verlaine is said to have given birth to beautiful poems. 

9. E. M. Forster

A Room with a View, A Passage to India, Howards End

In a time when homosexuality was illegal, E. M. Forster kept his sexuality hidden and only published stories about ‘normal people’ and only about the love between a man and a woman. But a year after his death his novel Maurice was published, a novel about a relationship between two men. He also wrote gay short stories.

8. Truman Capote

In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Other Voices

Critically acclaimed author Truman Capote was openly gay in a time when being gay was considered taboo. He was known for his flamboyant personality and extravagant lifestyle. His first novel ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’ explores homosexual themes which gained him fame and controversy. Gay characters appear in several of his novels and it is said that his stories gave a voice to gay men.

7. Sappho

The Poetry of Sappho, The songs of Sappho, Woman from child (Sappho) 

Sappho, the seventh-century B.C. lyric “genius” wrote songs about her “susceptibility to the graces of younger women", which bequeathed us the adjectives ‘sapphic’ and ‘lesbian’. She was the subject of furious controversies about her sexuality, but in recent times many readers and scholars describe her as a feminist heroine and a gay role model.

6. Emily Dickinson

The complete poems, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson, New poems of Emily Dickinson 

It has been argued the American poet Emily Dickinson was bisexual or lesbian, but it is still unclear as to if she was. Some biographers have theorised that she had romantic attachments to women, but there has also been attention to a group of letters addressed to “Master”, who is considered to be a male lover. It is most commonly said that she was in a relationship with her sister-in-law Susan. She is considered, along with Walt Whitman, as one of the two greatest poets of American history.  

5. Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass, Drum Taps, Song of Myself

Walt Whitman never addressed his sexuality publicly in any of his works. But some biographers note that he was involved for years in a romantic relationship with another man. In works like ‘Calamus’ and ‘Leaves of Grass’ discusses romantic and sexual relationships between men. He is considered, along with Emily Dickinson as one of the two greatest poets in American history. 

4. James Baldwin

Go Tell It on the Mountain, Another Country, Notes of a Native Son

Considered one of the great writers of the 20th century, James Baldwin was besides a novelist, a civil rights activist. His work dug into subjects such as race, religion and sexualities. He explored his own sexuality and in 1962 published ‘Another Country’, a novel that pushed the national discourse on homosexual relations. 

3. Tennessee Williams

Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real

“A true gay icon” Tennessee Williams came to terms with his sexuality in the late 1930s. He is said to have put “gay desires on stage at a time when it was almost unthinkable to do so.” Critics have found Williams problematic and have said that his homosexual characters are often “on the sidelines or end up dead.” 

2. Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, Mrs Dalloway

Virginia Woolf started her writing career when she was 26. Besides the fact that she was married to a man, she had several relationships with women throughout her life. The protagonist of her novel ‘Orlando’ is said to have been inspired by one of her lovers Vita Sackville-West. She is one of the most influential authors and feminists of the 21st century. 

1.Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome, The importance of being Earnest and other plays

Oscar Wilde’s sexuality has been described as an open secret, mainly because of the fact that in his time homosexuality was illegal. He was sentenced to two years hard labor for gross indecency. The collection of stories ‘The Happy Prince’ is said to be based on the period following his prison sentence. Now, he represents how far the LGBT+ community has come. 

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