The Violet Quill Club: Constructing a Post-Stonewall Gay Identity through Fiction
It‘s difficult to define ―literature,‖ let alone ―gay literature.‖ Nonetheless, a group of seven gay male authors, dubbed the Violet Quill Club, met at informal roundtables in New York City to critique each other‘s work in the late 1970s into the early ‘80s, creating a set of works that redefined the way Americans read ―gay‖ novels. These authors published their seminal works during this time, a unique era of sexual freedom in the United States that fell between the Stonewall riots, which mark the beginning of the modern gay rights movement, and the AIDS crisis, which took the lives of four members of the group. The fiction published by the Violet Quill Club established a new gay identity born of New York‘s gay culture, which emphasized sexual liberation and freedom from traditional heterosexual institutions such as marriage. Although this constructed identity was narrowly construed, it influenced a generation of gay men and still resonates within today‘s LGBT rights movement.