Black History Month is the perfect occasion to remember and celebrate all those breaking the glass ceiling, especially when it comes to the Black Queer community.
Although this celebration usually focuses on remembering the pioneers on whose shoulders we work today for an equal world, at BELatina, we wanted to compile the five Black Queer authors who are changing the way literature is made.
For science fiction lovers, the author Alyssa Cole is a name that should not be missing in the library. Her work covers various temporalities, as well as intimacy between straight and gay couples. Her Civil War-set espionage romance, An Extraordinary Union, was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess, in Theory, was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018.
In the Young Adult fiction genre, few female authors have made as significant a mark as Jaqueline Woodson. The Black Queer author is a master at drawing settings and sensations and uses her characters’ stories to break down physical and psychological boundaries. Her most notable works include Miracle’s Boys (2000) and Brown Girl Dreaming (2014).
Roxane Gay is a powerful voice within black queer literature, being a master at transforming pain into beauty. Through her academic experience and publishing projects, Gay became known for her collection of essays titled Bad Feminist, which saw the light of day in 2014. Three years later, and in collaboration with Medium, the author launched Gay Magazine, a space for cultural criticism of which she is the editor.
For those who closely follow Young Adult literature focused on identity processes, Leah Johnson is a ‘must.’ A 2021 Lambda Literary Fellow for Emerging Writers, this Black Queer author brings her perspective on popular culture and politics not only to digital platforms but also to several reputable publications. Her debut novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, was a Reese’s Book Club YA First Pick, a Stonewall 2021 Honor Book, and was named one of Cosmo’s Top 15 Young Adult Books of 2020.
Another top feather in the cap in recent years is comedian and blogger Samantha Irby. The voice behind bitches gotta eat, Irby has transformed her personal battles — including her struggle with Crohn’s disease — into the source for her storytelling. Her works include We Are Never Meeting in Real Life; Meaty; New Year, Same Trash; and Wow, No Thank You.