Celebrate Pride Month in Ohio

Pride Month provides Ohioans with a chance to either revisit or to learn about all the LGBTQ literary figures that were born in Ohio or have called the Buckeye State home.

And before you say, “What about….?!” We acknowledge this is ONLY a small selection! We encourage you to explore well beyond this list… Consider this only an enticement for you!

Natalie Clifford Barney was born in Dayton in 1876. Barney lived in Paris where she hosted a weekly literary salon for discussion of literary and social topics including the promotion of female writers and their work. There is an Ohio Historical Marker dedicated to Barney in her birthplace, and the Ohio History Connection has a blog entry on research done for an exhibit.

Raised in Columbus until she was eleven, Ellis Avery won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Award for Fiction twice, an Ohioana Book Award, a Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction, and numerous other accolades. The Ohioana Library Association posted this remembrance of Avery at the time of her death in 2019.

Novelist, essayist, and memoirist Edmund White was born in Cincinnati and has won numerous accolades including the 2019 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation and several awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation. White was interviewed by Lambda in December 2020.

Saeed Jones lives in Columbus and won the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and a 2020 Lambda Literary Award. NPR’s Fresh Air featured an interview with Jones in 2019

Fantasy author Ellen Kushner grew up in Cleveland and, in 1991, won both World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award for her novel Thomas the Rhymer.

This again is just a small selection of the wonderful, historic, and talented LGBTQ literary figures from Ohio… and we apologize for ALL the people who we didn’t have space to list!

You can also explore further with the Gay Ohio History Initiative, a project of the Ohio History Connection. The Ohioana Library Association also had a nice list of recommended reads last year, too.

We encourage you to celebrate Pride Month in June… and to continue to read these authors throughout the year!

(Plus, don’t forget our Comics Discussion Guide of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home available here on our site!)