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LGBT History Month: 10 LGBT Authors Who Were Total Game Changers



Well we’re halfway through LGBT History month folks and we’re really getting into it. During this month it’s important to look back and reflect on those whose writing and openness about their sexuality changed the game for the LGBT community and created representation in media when there was none. Here are ten LGBT writers who changed things up in the literary world.

Sappho (630 B.C—570 BC)

There’s an old saying that all literature starts with Ancient Greece, but it should be rephrased that all it starts with Sappho, poet, and influencer. Known by Plato as the “10th Muse”, Sappho composed what historians believe around 10,000 lines of poetry on the island of Lesbos. Her poetry is about women on women love and the beauty of femininity. While we don’t know much about Sappho’s life, and the bulk of her poetry has been lost to time, we do see a lot of her influence today. The term “lesbian” comes from her home of Lesbos and she became a “patron saint of lesbians” when 20th-century lesbian writers discovered her work. She made headlines in 2014 when some of her poems were discovered, creating more fans.

Oscar Wilde(1854-1900)

Playwright, novelist, and literary rebel Oscar Wilde revolutionized the literary world with his wit and his refusal to conform. As I mentioned in my last article, Wilde’s first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Grey,” was so “racy” with gay and bisexual characters that Victorian readers were shocked.  His novel, as well as being as openly gay as you can be in Victorian England with his boyfriend Lord Alfred Douglas, led him to be sentenced to two years of hard labor in 1895. In the years after his early death, Wilde became a symbol of rebellion, individualism, and the poster child for “being yourself”. He has become a gay icon for writers and theatre kids. Wilde makes headlines today, with a recent secular temple opening up the basement of a New York Church devoted to Oscar Wilde, something that he would probably love.

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

Behind every great man, there is an even greater woman, and no one was greater than Gertrude Stein. Novelist, art collector and actual badass, she hosted a Paris salon where Ernest Hemingway, F.Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso would meet her and ask for her advice. Yes, she edited Hemingway’s writing, because she’s the original baller. She wrote the popular The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas using the tone and voice of her life partner, Alice B. Toklas. A legend in her own right, the modernist literary movement that Ezra Pound, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald are known for would not exist without her.

Langston Hughes (1920-1967)

American poet, social activist, and novelist Langston Hughes was not “out” during his lifetime. Like many authors of his time, he stayed closeted because of the fear of being an outcast. This is deeply felt in Hughes’ case, as a black man in the time of segregation he was already trying to jump one hurdle, to jump another would be almost impossible at that time. While Hughes was never out, he made a huge contribution to the literary world. He was a leader of the Harlem Renaissance literature movement and one of the earliest creators of jazz poetry. His writing deals with themes of racism, survival, memory and American identity, many of which are still relevant today.

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

Leading figure of the Beat Movement during the 1950’s and 60’s, the poet Allen Ginsberg is probably best well known for his epic poem “Howl” which deals with sexual repression, capitalism, and conformity. Similar to Wilde, Ginsberg’s “Howl” became the subject of an obscenity trial because it described gay sex when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S State (yes, this really happened here). Fortunately, Ginsburg was found not guilty and “Howl” was found not obscene with the judge adding, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?” Ginsberg was very open about his sexuality, striking a note for gay marriage by listing his life partner Peter Orlovsky as his spouse in his author bio entry.This became a bit of a turning point for freedom of speech and gay rights in America and led to more authors being open about their sexuality.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

Writer, womanist, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde was a major game changer, trying to get her voice heard as a black gay woman, which was no easy feat. She coined the term “womanist” with fellow author Alice Walker, who was looking for a term for feminist equality but also fit with diversity and unique struggles that women of color face. Audre was very open about her sexuality and beautifully expressed her emotions in her poetry and essays (The Black Unicorn being a personal favorite of mine). The Audre Lorde Project is a Brooklyn based center for LGBT people of color for community organizing and is still helping people today.

James Baldwin (1924-1987)

American writer and social critic, James Baldwin may be best known for his collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son, which deals with racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western cultures in the 20th century. His second novel Giovanni’s Room, written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement, has bisexual and gay characters and deals with social alienation. Social Alienation was something that Baldwin deeply felt as a black man in America, and as a gay man in Europe. His writing kickstarted the conversation on sexuality to the reading public.

Jeanette Winterson (1959)

Okay, if you’re not reading Sexing the Cherry I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life. Actually, just read all of Jeanette Winterson’s books right now, and thank me later. Jeanette Winterson is a more modern writer on the list, with her work exploring gender polarities and sexual identity. Her own complicated “coming out” story found in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Why be Normal When you can be Happy? gives a relatable and modern voice to a new generation who are looking for a connection.

Truman Capote (1924-1984)

Novelist Truman Capote took “Gay Icon” to a whole other level by becoming not only a huge celebrity but a celebrity who was openly gay in the 1960’s.  A bit of a character, known as the “Tiny Terror” with his high voice, offbeat dress and tall tales about famous people he’s never met, created a bit of a gay stereotype that remains today. Still, his openness about his homosexuality and his encouragement for other writers to do the same made him an important player in the realm of gay rights.

Alison Bechdel (1960)

Cartoonist, author, and creative genius Alison Bechdel is currently changing the game with her graphic novel Fun Home, an autobiography about her own life and learning about her sexuality, which was made into a Tony Award Winning Musical in 2015. She is also the creator of the famed Bechdel Test that calls out sexist movies. She also created the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” that ran from 1983 to 2008 that was one of the earliest long-running representations of lesbians in pop culture.

This is just a small list of the hundreds of LGBT writers and creators that exist and there are probably hundreds more that have been suppressed by small-minded media and gatekeeping publishers that still keep LGBT writers out today. While these trailblazers have made the path easier to walk on, there is still much work to be done. Will you be the next LGBT game changer?  

Originally posted 2017-10-21 17:01:54.

Ellen Ricks is a word-for-hire, fashion blogger, and bibliophile living in upstate New York. She has a BFA in Creative Writing from SUNY Potsdam and has been published in a number of literary magazines, both in print and online. She runs the fashion blog Sarcasm in Heels.  When not writing, Ellen enjoys frolicking in fancy dresses, consuming pumpkin spice everything, and dismantling the patriarchy.


#FiveFilms4Freedom LGBT+ Film Festival



The #FiveFilms4Freedom 2017 film festival is travelling across the pond this November. Originally hosted in Britain this past March, it is the first and largest LGBT+ film festival, and has featured independent LGBT+ short films from around the globe.

The film festival began in 2014 in Britain, sponsored by the British Council and the British Film Institute. It is a part of the larger BFI Flare film festival, which began in 1986, and is sponsored by the Love is GREAT Britain Campaign. .

This year’s #FiveFilms4Freedom festival marked 50 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain. As such, all five films were created by UK filmmakers.

After the films premiered in the UK in March, they were brought to Washington, D.C. on November 1, and will be shown in Los Angeles on November 13 and in New York City on November 16. The festival will also feature a panel of prominent LGBT+  rights advocates from the US and the UK, as well as two participating directors.  

The films focus on a range of LGBT+ relationships and issues. The majority of them are love stories; Crush tells the story of a young girl who finds herself smitten with another girl she sees at a train station, Heavy Weight deals with a young male boxer and his reaction to the arrival of a new fighter, and Jamie is a very modern story about a man who bravely decides to meet with the man he has been talking to on a dating site. The other two films explore very different experiences in the LGBT+ community. Still Burning is about a young migrant living in Paris who shows his brother the exciting and freeing voguing movement. The title is taken from the film Paris is Burning, a documentary about the voguing movement in New York City and its effect on the African American, Latino, gay and transgender communities. The final film is a documentary set in Scotland, entitled Where We Are Now, and focuses on a transgender parent and her bisexual daughter.

The BFI Flare festival as well as #FiveFilms4Freedom have given the LGBT+ community an excellent place for celebration and representation, especially in the UK. With the decriminalization of homosexuality 31 years ago, British LGBT+ representation is extremely important because it has only been able to exist for a short amount of time. The festival allows filmmakers to make LGBT+ people and relationships extremely public, and continues to encourage and support the idea that LGBT+ people can make and star in incredible pieces of media. The move from showing the films in Britain alone to showing them in the US will hopefully continue to encourage the rise of LGBT+ relationships in mainstream media as well as in independent media.

Tickets for the festival in New York City are still available for reservation here. The festival is on November 16 from 6 – 9 PM at the Barclays-ASK Auditorium on Seventh Avenue. The festival is also currently accepting submissions for next year’s festival here.

Originally posted 2017-11-13 21:00:23.

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Online Dating While Genderqueer #notokcupid



Anatomy, pronouns, sexual orientation. These suddenly become much more important when talking to cis men online. I often don’t disclose my gender identity or pronouns in conversation because I don’t want to scare folks away. I also figure it’s more of a 2nd date conversation. I do mention my pronouns in my bios, though. I don’t want to hide my gender identity, but I also don’t want to talk about it a lot. There’s more to me than just my gender (or lack thereof), and I’m not interested in teaching Queer Theory 101 courses when we could be talking about movies, or where we grew up, or which Disney Princess is our favorite. It’s an exhausting thing to talk about – there’s a lot of emotional energy and work involved, often met with even more invasive questions, a sense of entitlement, and arguments.

Living in Brooklyn, dating can be exhausting. A major pro is the seemingly endless amount of options/available folks. At the same time, a major con is the seemingly endless amount of options/available folks. There is a lot of sifting and sorting that needs to be done before even meeting someone in real life. Here are three dating apps I’ve used, and my experiences with each.


OKCupid is one of my favorite dating platforms thus far. The expansive options for gender identity/sexual orientation, and the option to not be seen by straight people, is validating and creates a safer space for an already vulnerable venture. OKCupid does require a bit more work – not only in filling out your profile, but when looking for cuties. There is a swipe feature, just like Tinder and Bumble, but OKC is a better platform for folks interested in dating, not just hookups.


Bumble has been a recent favorite of mine, simply because of fast results. I get to know within seconds of a swipe if someone also likes me, and I have to message first within 24 hours, giving me the power to initiate conversation. If the other person doesn’t reply within 24 hours, then the connection is lost. I enjoy this feature because I get to set the tone. Getting a dick pic instead of “Hello, I also adore the film ‘Nacho Libre’” is a much less successful and appealing opener. Bumble is not as trans or queer friendly. There are two gender options for your identity and who you are looking to talk to, and you must select one for each. You can also only change your gender once – so you better decide which end of the binary you’d like to claim, and stick with it!

Side note: I’ve also heard that Michael Che is on Bumble. Michael – if you’re reading this, let’s get coffee?


OH GEEZ. I had a tinder account for quite a while, and haven’t been back on it in over a year. Apparently, it has gotten more trans inclusive, with a total of 37 gender identity choices. Tinder is the ultimate hookup app. That doesn’t mean one couldn’t find folks seeking other types of interactions, the likelihood might just be slimmer. To me, Tinder feels like a frat party, and I’m not in Greek Life.

When Life Gives You Interactions with Dumb Bois, Make a Hashtag

On any dating platform, you’re bound to have some … interesting conversations. The internet is powerful – it makes people braver, ruder, and sometimes dumber. When I’m getting harassing messages from dumb bois, I feel safer telling them off than I do in real life. I’m less likely to get assaulted, physically and/or emotionally. I also screenshot EVERYTHING. If you feel comfortable talking to me that way, then I’m sure you won’t mind me sharing that with the entire world. Here are some memorable interactions I’ve had that I’ve posted to my personal Instagram:

Notice how he doesn’t deny it… #notokcupid #smelly

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So greedy. #notokcupid

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When he’s a dumb boy but also loves @rupaulofficial ? #notokcupid

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LET THE GAMES BEGIN!! #notokcupid

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… but you're not a feminist? #thingsthatmakeyougohmmm #notokcupid

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Boy, can I relate. #notokcupid

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Originally posted 2017-11-13 18:58:09.

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That Looks Like A…: Provocative Holiday Foods



(*Article contains mature themes.*)


Have you ever looked at a food or read its name and instinctively turned into a tomato?  (Or better still, maybe you and your freaky self were actually turned on by it!)  Well, you don’t have to be depraved or even gay to enjoy these three provocative foods, but you’ll have more fun with them if you are.




While this dessert has a wonderfully raunchy name, it is sadly tame in appearance.  It hails from Britain (go figure), and does unnatural things with currants or raisins.  It is typically categorized as a pudding, but looks more like an odd-shaped muffin, to be honest.  Here’s just one recipe:


The best way to pervert this dish is to shape it, but I won’t be graphic in my description of the ways you can do that.  If you’re not handy in the kitchen, just go to a naughty bakery!  However, you should always be a good (or slutty) host and serve this dish with vanilla custard, as is tradition…




Another British treat, this spongy, sausage infested con-cock-tion is little more than cheap meat in dough.  To the bane of the straight community, it is still a popular dish to serve to a large dinner party because it is not difficult to make.  (Note:  It’s also called “Toad in the Hole” because heterosexuals are often uptight about where they hide their sausages.)


In my opinion, this dish looks less sexual and more like something the cast of Duck Dynasty would serve to their guests.  If you like odd tasting desserts, though, this recipe could be just what you’re looking for.




Ok, so I’m gonna catch hell for throwing this popular dessert into the mix, but I do so by request.  We all know how to make it; two scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, one banana, some hot fudge sauce, and a cherry.


There are so many jokes I could make out of this, but I will simply describe something I saw at a holiday party that will forever change the way you look at this ice cream treat.  The banana sat in the center, two gobs of chocolate ice cream, one on each side… Need I go on?  I’ve never seen more suggestively placed hot fudge syrup, all of it lying at one end of the plate.  Even the cherry looked like it was blushing, sitting daintily on the banana’s tip with its vein, er… vine facing backwards.  It was quite a sight – I only wish I had quit laughing long enough to snap a picture.


If you’re a fan of the more traditional approach, just be sure you combine the standard ingredients in equal proportions around the plate.


So, there you have it ladies and gents, three foods that you imagination can run wild with. Other top contenders were the meatball grinder (also the name of a sex act), beef jerky (just because it sounds funny), and the buttery nipple cupcake (for obvious reasons).  


Feel free to leave your comments and recipes for more depraved sexual foods for all of us at TravelPride to investigate.  


Have a happy holiday season!

Originally posted 2017-11-13 16:20:13.

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