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LGBT People of History 93 - Audre Lorde
Audrey Geraldine Lorde (1934 – 1992) was a famous Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist.
She was born in New York City to Frederick Byron Lorde and Linda Gertrude Belmar Lorde and they lived in Harlem. She was very short sighted and learned to read, write and talk at the age of four. Her first poem was written at around the age of 12. She removed the ‘y’ from her first name as a child as she liked the symmetry of the ‘e’ endings in both of her names.
Her best friend, Genevieve Thompson, died at the same time as she graduated from college and she left home and moved to Stamford, Connecticut where she started to become more aware of her lesbian sexuality.
In 1954, she spent a year in Mexico where she renewed herself and spent a period of self-acceptance as a poet and a lesbian. Returning to New York City she pursued a career in librarianship and became head librarian at Town School Library in New York. She was also involved in the Greenwich Village gay scene. She continued writing and got married and divorced after having had two children.
In 1968 she met Frances Clayton, a white psychology professor, in Mississippi. They would remain together until 1989. Audre had a brief affair with Mildred Thompson in 1977-8.
Her work consisted of writing poetry, fighting for civil and gay rights and involvement in feminist movements. Her early poetic publications were ‘The First Cities’ and ‘Cables to Rage’. These dealt with being black and love, children and betrayal and lesbianism. She was an advocate of rights on many levels (such as class, race, age, gender and even health as well as sexuality) and was constantly at odds with the white feminists of the time. Her overarching concerns were for the rights of black and gay people. She also argued that there was a lot of racism in contemporary feminist thought.
In 1978, Audre was diagnosed with breast cancer and she gallantly fought this disease for 14 years. Years later she was diagnosed with liver cancer and because of this focussed on her life and writings publishing the acclaimed ‘The Cancer Journals’ in 1981. She described herself as a ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’.
The liver cancer finally killed her in 1992. She was 58.
A sad loss to the cause.
Ian and Callum.
With thanks to Wikipedia.
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Our site brings to light our LGBT History and Biographies Of International LGBT People of the past. Some you will know and some you wont know about. Our aim is to educate and bring the lives of legendary historical LGBT people to light and give insig
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Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.