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Rita Mae Brown “Not Interested” in Being Gay


How can any of us queer scribes not be interested in being LGBT?

In 2008, I told my progressive, hetero cousin that I was a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writer Fellow. It was an honor, but not the Nobel Prize, and I wasn’t expecting thunderous applause. I was surprised, though, when she asked, meaning no ill, “Do you want to be known as a gay writer?”

I was reminded of this when Rita Mae Brown, author of the landmark lesbian novel “Rubyfruit Jungle” (released in 1973), received the Pioneer Award on June 1 at the 27th Lambda Literary Awards in New York City. The award honors groundbreaking contributions to LGBT literature. Kudos to Brown! I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor. “Rubyfruit Jungle” was one of the first novels with a lesbian protagonist that was funny, at times poignant, but never dire…

Given Brown’s LGBT literary legacy, I was surprised when Brown told the Washington Post after being asked why the Lammy Awards matter, “I really don’t know because I don’t think that way. I love language, I love literature, I love history, and I’m not even remotely interested in being gay.”

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