Pride isn’t just for June. Queer representation is important and paramount for students fulfilling research and for analyzing topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The issue? LGBTQ+ authors and themes are historically underrepresented in literature.

While passion for the pride movement has helped give voice to modern LGBTQ+ authors, queer literature has only widely been recognized over the past century. In fact, queer themes in most fiction before the twentieth century are implied rather than explicit in context. Even now, LGBTQ+ titles are disproportionately affected by banned book initiatives in libraries across the United States.

Gale believes access to LGBTQ+ literary resources should be available for all learners to share diverse perspectives from the LGBTQ+ community, support comprehensive research pathways, and promote the exploration of intersectional topics. Educators can use Gale Literature Resource Center to support the study of classic LGBTQ+ literature and contemporary LGBTQ+ authors.


    Themes of LGBTQ+ Literature

    LGBTQ+ literature encompasses works produced by the queer community and literature with queer themes. The collection of primary and secondary sources in Gale Literature Resource Center enables students to explore queer narratives in literary works and to learn about the experiences and history of LGBTQ+ communities. Aside from exploring topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion with consideration to LGBTQ+ groups, students can use Gale Literature Resource Center to understand the perspectives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer voices through literary criticisms, biographies, and more.

    Representation of LGBTQ+ authors and LGBTQ+ characters in literature are essential to understanding the spectrums of gender and sexuality; challenging homosexual, trans, and queer stereotypes; and thinking critically about the experiences of groups marginalized  for their sexuality and gender. Student research topics can encompass the evolution of sexuality and social structures, the analysis of gender roles and expectations, and the history of legal issues and political movements affecting the queer community from anti-LGBTQ+ groups.


    The Impact of Queer Stories

    Stories of queer experiences exist across the spectrum of literary genres from authors around the world. Access to content centered on these stories is not only important for general research but provides representation for people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Enable students to use Gale Literature Resource Center to explore queer subject areas and think critically about queer experiences from various races, ethnicities, ages, religions, political orientations, and locations.

    Encourage learners to use these resources to analyze how queer fiction evolved as attitudes toward the queer community transformed throughout history. Use analyses and other secondary sources covering LGBTQ+ books, memoirs, autobiographies, and essays to give context to historical events from the Stonewall Uprising to the AIDS crisis to the fight for marriage equality and more.

Gale Literature Resource Center Highlights

In Gale Literature Resource Center, researchers can find up-to-date analysis, biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism, original works of literature, and reviews on more than 160,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods, and from around the world.

  • The database includes more than 2,100,000 full-text articles, critical essays, and reviews from over 450 scholarly journals and literary magazines. 
  • Daily content updates provide researchers with the most-current critical approaches and interpretations of authors and works, book reviews, and more.
  • Coverage of a diverse range of writers with a broad array of disciplines, time periods, and backgrounds from around the world delivers a full picture of representation in literature.
  • Primary works in a variety of genres—from science fiction writers, essayists, poets, and others—support close reading and the gathering of textual evidence to provide ample opportunity for reader-response activities. 
  • Materials support interdisciplinary approaches to the humanities, information literacy, and the development of critical-thinking skills.
  • Current and comprehensive literature criticism, biographical information, reviews, and references promote deeper literary understanding.

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Featured Authors: LGBTQ+ Literature

Among the thousands of primary sources, criticisms, and articles in Gale Literature Resource Center include works examining the following literary voices from the LGBTQ+ community:

  • James Baldwin
  • Alison Bechdel
  • Truman Capote
  • Countee Cullen
  • Angela Davis
  • Michael Dillon
  • Leslie Feinberg
  • Patricia Highsmith
  • Andrew Holleran
  • Larry Kramer
  • Alain Locke
  • Audre Lorde
  • Carmen Maria Machado
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Jan Morris
  • Pat Parker
  • Ocean Vuong
  • Alice Walker
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Virginia Woolf

Want to explore all that Gale Literature Resource Center has to offer?

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Did You Know?

LGBTQ+ literature has played a central role in queer history. Below are a few interesting facts and accomplishments of well-known LGBTQ+ authors over time. Gain access to the full biographies of influential queer writers in Gale Literature Resource Center.

  • Alison Bechdel is known for coining the term “Bechdel test,” which assesses gender inequalities in movies by considering the portrayal of female characters.1
  • Often referred to as a closeted homosexual, Alain Locke is credited with beginning the Harlem Renaissance in New York by publishing his poetry anthology The New Negro: An Interpretation.2
  • Leslie Feinberg’s novel Stone Butch Blues is praised as one of the first works of fiction to not only tell the story of a transgender person but to embrace transgender identity in literature.3
  • Known for her writing to have created a literary identity for African American lesbians, Pat Parker served as director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Oakland, California.4
  • Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for two years for homosexuality in England in the late nineteenth century.5

Resource Spotlight:

Introduction to “Gay and Lesbian Literature in the Twentieth Century” (Vol. 218)

“At the end of the nineteenth century, gay and lesbian themes, characters, and imagery were implicit but not directly addressed in literary works because of the conservative social values of the Victorian age. Homoerotic relationships were suggested, but gay voices remained largely closeted, and same-sex desire was rarely made explicit in the literature of the period. The advent of the twentieth century, however, ushered in many social changes, and the modernist period allowed a number of diverse voices to come to the forefront and incorporate themes of same-sex attachments and homoerotic desire in their work. Such authors as Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, and Oscar Wilde became prominent in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century as artists who utilized metaphors and allegories to explore issues of gender identification and sexual identity. As the century wore on, gay and lesbian fiction, drama, poetry, and autobiography began more boldly to elucidate issues of gender, sexuality, and societal repression. This emerging gay literary consciousness mirrored other social movements of the time like the Civil Rights movement. The increased acceptance of the gay community is also viewed as a reaction to the broad scientific, technological, and sociopolitical changes taking place in western societies in the 1960s and later. By mid-century, gay and lesbian novels, short stories, poetry, plays, essays, and autobiographies began to garner both popularity and critical acclaim. James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room, Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit, and Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer are examples of mid-twentieth-century works that generated not only controversy for their explicit gay and lesbian themes and characters, but also praise for their frank exploration of sexual identity, homoerotic longing, and social barriers. In much of the literature of the period, gay and lesbian characters are routinely subjected to discrimination, marginalization, ridicule, violence, and even death because of their sexual identity, which reflected the societal condemnation most gays and lesbians were subjected to in society once their sexual identities were revealed.

“Once the Gay Rights movement began in earnest during the late 1960s, gay and lesbian literature became a highly visible literary genre and began to attract considerable attention in the United States. Gay and lesbian writers aligned themselves with other marginalized peoples and began the hard struggle to gain recognition, tolerance, and equal rights within the dominant heterosexual culture. Literature became a useful medium through which to explore these struggles and chronicle their personal experience. Homosexual relationships were portrayed in sexually explicit terms, as were the daunting challenges of living as a gay or lesbian person in contemporary society. The coming-out novel became a popular subgenre of gay and lesbian literature as homosexual writers chronicled the struggles of coming to terms with their sexual identity, their first same-sex experiences, and the challenges they encountered disclosing their identity to family, friends, and their communities. With the advent of AIDS in the 1980s, gay writers examined the impact of the epidemic on the gay community, gay culture, and on personal relationships. Lesbian literature also emerged as a distinct genre, as it confronted some of the same issues as literature written by gay men, but also focused on themes unique to the lesbian community. In recent years, bisexual and transgender literatures have been grouped with gay and lesbian literature under the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) literature; this has become a prominent literary genre that reflects the unique experiences common to a broad swath of gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals in a wide variety of regions, cultures, communities, and circumstances. Under the rubric of LGBT literature, there are gay and lesbian writers specializing in science fiction, romance, and detective and espionage fiction. By the close of the twentieth century, LGBT authors were writing in every literary genre and subgenre and reflecting a wide range of cultural and political views.”6


  1. Oko-Odoi, Katrina. “Alison Bechdel.” Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 364. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. Gale Literature Resource Center, accessed September 30, 2022.
  2. Mason, Ernest D. “Alain (Le Roy) Locke.” Afro-American Writers from the Harlem Renaissance to 1940, edited by Trudier Harris-Lopez and Thadious M. Davis. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 51. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1987. Gale Literature Resource Center, accessed September 30, 2022.
  3. Moses, Cat. “Queering Class: Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues.” Studies in the Novel 31, no. 1 (1999): 74. Gale Literature Resource Center, accessed September 30, 2022.
  4. Pat Parker.” Gay & Lesbian Biography, edited by Michael J. Tyrkus and Michael Bronski. Detroit, MI: St. James Press, 1997. Gale Literature Resource Center, accessed September 30, 2022.
  5. Boyd, Debra C. “Oscar Wilde.” British Short-Fiction Writers, 1880–1914: The Romantic Tradition, edited by William F. Naufftus. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 156. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1995. Gale Literature Resource Center, accessed September 30, 2022.
  6. Gay and Lesbian Literature in the Twentieth Century.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, edited by Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 218. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2009. Gale Literature Resource Center, accessed September 30, 2022.