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The Writer’s Closet

Authors throughout history have hidden their sexuality from the public, oftentimes expressing themselves in their writing. Here are some authors who remained closeted during their lifetimes.
E.M. Forster
He was a British novelist who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature sixteen times. His novel Maurice, a love story between two men, remained unpublished until after his death. Homosexuality was illegal in the U.K. when it was written.
Frederico García Lorca
He was a Spanish poet and playwright who wrote in a surrealist and futurist style. He often included homoerotic subtext in his work. He was disappeared by the Franco regime due to his sexuality, and has never been found.
Lorraine Hansberry
She is best known for her play A Raisin in the Sun, about a black family attempting to escape generational poverty in Chicago. She was a closeted lesbian, but reportedly was preparing to come out before her death from cancer at age 34.
Yukio Mishima
He was one of the most important Japanese writers of the 20th century. His novel Confessions of a Mask describes the struggles of a closeted gay youth. Mishima himself was closeted and even married a woman.
Walt Whitman
It is now common knowledge that poet Walt Whitman was gay, but during his lifetime, he remained closeted. When asked in interviews about homoerotic references in his poems, he denied them, or refused to answer. His friend and contemporary, playwright Oscar Wilde, was infamously prosecuted and imprisoned for homosexuality.
Many of the most celebrated children’s book authors are LGBTQ+. Arnold Lobel, Margaret Wise Brown, Tomie DiPaola, and Maurice Sendak all remained closeted throughout their careers.
Who’s your favorite LGBTQ+ author? Tweet us @JCWriters.
Lauren Quoraishee is a writer, editor, and digital producer for JCW, based in Lyndhurst, NJ.

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