It’s been 50 years since homosexuality was partially decriminalised in the UK and, in the wake of Pride Month, there’s no better time than to celebrate the ever-growing number of openly LGBT+ artists who exist in our world today. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites for you to get into during the inevitable period of summer holiday boredom.
- Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson is an author and professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester. Her semi-autobiographical novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit recounts a coming-of-age tale about a lesbian girl growing up in a strict religious community, and won the Whitbread Award for a First Novel. Since then she has become one of the most-read lesbian authors in the country. However, she disputes the label of her book being a “lesbian novel”, stating that “I’ve never understood why straight fiction is supposed to be for everyone, but anything with a gay character or that includes gay experience is only for queers.”
- Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Sáenz is a Mexican-American novelist and poet. He came out as gay just a few years ago at the age of 54; in interviews, he has mentioned that he was sexually abused as a child, which caused him to hide his sexuality from others. Through his writing, Sáenz was able to work through his own issues of reconciling his background and his sexuality: his young adult book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe follows the relationship between two Mexican-American teenage boys growing up in the 1980s who struggle against social expectations and pressures to conform.
- Amandla Stenberg
An activist, model, actress, and singer, Amandla Stenberg is best known for playing Rue in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games. She is also the co-writer of the NIOBE comics. Recently, she has become a teen icon after coming out as bisexual and non-binary. On social media she is a constant reminder of just how celebrities should use their influence for positive activism; her numerous posts and videos about cultural appropriation versus the celebration of black culture are both entertaining and genuinely interesting.