The year 2019 has welcomed a few firsts in the LGBTQ community. It has been the year of the first same-sex marriage law in Asia and India had its first queer album with singer Pragya Pallavi’s ‘Queerism’. It is also the year that sees June celebrating the fiftieth Pride Month. Incidentally, the month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. Even Google Doodle celebrated 50 years of Pride with a vibrant and animated doodle that commemorated the diverse Pride celebrations spanning five decades.
While 2019 may have seen a few mammoth firsts in the LGBTQ community with the year itself marking a landmark moment, literature on its part has always tried to uphold the vibrancy of love beyond boundaries and gender and has, over the years given readers riveting manuscripts that simply celebrate love or a sort of validation and understanding of same-sex attraction in society.
As we celebrate Pride Month, here’s a look at tomes that have, over the years put forward stories of love, acceptance and battles fought by characters/individuals from the community for readers to mull over, and often – just realize.
The Line of Beauty
The 2004 Man Booker Prize-winning novel surrounds young gay protagonist, Nick Guest’s intimate relationship with the Fedden family, in whose parties and holidays he participates and the realities of his sexuality and gay life. The novel goes on to explore a variety of themes including hypocrisy, homosexuality, madness and privilege, with the conclusion of the book set against the emerging AIDS crisis.
The Price of Salt
The 1952 romance novel by Patricia Highsmith under the pseudonym Claire Morgan is her only novel about a lesbian relationship. The book had a relatively happy ending, which was unprecedented in lesbian literature.
The novel by EM Forster, written in 1913, is a tale of homosexual love in early 20th-century England. The novel follows the journeys of a young man Maurice Hall and was inspired by the relationship between poet Edward Carpenter and his partner George Merrill. The book, however, would go on to be published posthumously in 1971 since Forster believed it was unpublishable during his lifetime due to public and legal stigmas towards same-sex love.
A Biography: The 1928 book by Virginia Woolf describes the adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries, meeting the key figures of English literary history. The book is considered to be a landmark work on women’s literature, gender and transgender studies.
Call Me By Your Name
The 2007 novel by American writer centres on a summer relationship blossoming between a 17-year-old American-Italian Jewish boy named Elio Perlman and a visiting 24-year-old American Jewish scholar named Oliver in 1980s Italy. The novel places readers into the mind of Elio as his feelings develop from mild crush to complete obsession.
The City and the Pillar
Published in 1948, the novel which shocked readers initially is the coming-of-age novel about the protagonist Jim Willard and his search for love. It was the first novel to be published from a respected writer (Gore Vidal) to speak directly and sympathetically about homosexuality in a time it was still considered to be taboo.
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