About the Exhibit
This exhibition highlights works of literature from UH Libraries’ Special Collections that were written by and are concerned with the stories of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex. These works explore issues of identity, family, friendship, passion, love, oppression, community, life, and death. Some are classic titles that have become part of the established literary canon, while others are the products of new voices. Although grouped together, they provide diverse perspectives on issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, and biological variation. Many of these texts resist easy categorization, reflecting the fluidity of gender and sexuality, and changing cultural understandings of sexual orientation and gender identity over time.
Provocative in their day, the earliest works include The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, and Orlando by Virginia Woolf. The gay liberation and women’s liberation movements of the 1970s provide novels such as Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, as well as Audre Lorde’s memoir Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Literature of the AIDS crisis is represented by Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart and the poetry of Mark Doty and Thom Gunn. Contemporary classics include Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.
LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works is drawn primarily from rare books in the Norma J. Lee Collection, the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection, and the Library of Cynthia Macdonald. Many additional titles may be found in UH Libraries’ Special Collections.