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15 Wikipedia Pages About Historical Queer Actors, Writers, And Figures You'll Want To Read Right Now

I could spend hours reading Audre Lorde's Wiki.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their favorite Wikipedia pages about historical queer figures. 🏳️‍🌈 Here are the fascinating results:

1. Marlene Dietrich

Eugene Robert Richee / Getty Images / Paramount Pictures

Marlene Dietrich was a bisexual Old Hollywood star who was known for her androgynous roles and for starring in such groundbreaking films as Morocco (1930) and Shanghai Express (1932). In Morocco, she became one of the first actresses to share an onscreen kiss with a woman. Dietrich had affairs with both her male and female co-stars, and participated in "sewing circles" — an underground group of lesbian and bisexual actresses who had sexual relationships with each other.


Read Dietrich's Wikipedia page here.

2. Josephine Baker

General Photographic Agency / Walery / Getty Images

Josephine Baker was an American-born French actress, dancer, and civil rights activist who broke ground in the 1920s as the first Black woman to star in a major film, Zouzou (1934). She continued her iconic dancing career through the 1930s and 1940s, and refused to perform in segregated clubs in the US. Although she was married to four different men over the course of her life, she reportedly had relationships with famous women, like the writer Colette.


Read Baker's Wikipedia page here.

3. Magnus Hirschfeld

Ullstein Bild / Getty Images

Magnus Hirschfeld was a famous scientist and pioneer of sexology in Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s. He founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, one of the first organizations to fight for LGBTQ rights, and openly worked for the decriminalization of queer people under the motto "justice through science." Because of his groundbreaking work, the Nazis destroyed most of his research and drove him into exile.


Read Hirschfeld's Wikipedia page here.

4. Marsha P. Johnson


Marsha P. Johnson was a prominent LGBTQ activist and drag queen in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s. As a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson believed in equality for anyone who identified as LGBTQ. Johnson was a key figure who led the Stonewall riots in 1969, and she helped organize one of the first pride parades in the West Village in 1970. Years later, Johnson was found dead in the Hudson River after New York City’s 1992 Pride Parade. While it was officially ruled a suicide, some of Johnson’s close friends believed the cops covered up Johnson's murder, and they still demand justice to this day.


Read Johnson's Wikipedia page here.

5. Colette

Fox Photos / Getty Images / Willy / Penguin

Colette was a famous French writer from the early 20th century who identified as bisexual and was responsible for writing the popular Claudine series, which was initially published under her husband's pen name, Willy. Claudine was a coming-of-age series about a young bisexual woman who grew up, got married to a man, and then cheated on him with another woman. It was groundbreaking for the time, and Colette continued to express her sexuality through other art forms, like sharing an onstage kiss with actress Matilde de Morny at the Moulin Rouge in 1907.


Read Colette's Wikipedia page here.

6. Tallulah Bankhead

Paramount Pictures

Tallulah Bankhead was an Old Hollywood movie, stage, and radio actress who was known for her thriving sex life with both men and women. She identified as ambisextrous, having affairs with notable celebrities like Greta Garbo and Hattie McDaniel, and wasn't afraid to share details of her private life with the general public. When she moved to New York City around 1917 to start her career, her father allegedly warned her about promiscuous men, but as Bankhead was later quoted as saying, "He didn't say anything about women and cocaine."


Read Bankhead's Wikipedia page here.

7. James Baldwin

Jenkins / Getty Images / Dial Press

James Baldwin was a gay author, playwright, and civil rights activist who was responsible for writing revolutionary books, like The Fire Next Time (1963) and If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). He helped amplify Black voices through his notable work and wasn't afraid to tackle issues like civil rights and the Gay Liberation Movement, making his protagonists LGBTQ men. Up until his death in 1987, he continued to fight for equality for Black and LGBTQ people and befriended important figures like Maya Angelou.


Read Baldwin's Wikipedia page here.

8. Alla Nazimova

Library Of Congress / Getty Images / United Artists

Alla Nazimova was a Russian actress who was known for adapting the term “sewing circle” to refer to an underground group of LGBTQ actresses in Old Hollywood who had sexual relationships with each other from the 1910s through the 1950s. Nazimova provided the space for actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn to explore their sexuality in private, during a discriminating time when their careers would've ended if their relationships became public.


Read Nazimova's Wikipedia page here.

9. Audre Lorde

PBS / W. W. Norton & Company

Audre Lorde — an author, poet, and civil rights activist who identified as a lesbian — published profound poetry collections in the 1970s and 1980s. In her huge body of work, she covered important subjects like race, sexuality, feminism, lesbianism, and a Black woman's role in the world. She wasn't afraid to confront issues about the feminist movement through her poems, which were mostly about the exclusion of Black women, and she was one of the first people to advocate for intersectional feminism.


Read Lorde's Wikipedia page here.

10. Bayard Rustin

Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Bayard Rustin was a queer activist and speaker who fought for civil rights, non-violence, and LGBTQ rights. Because he identified as queer, he was encouraged by his peers to play a background role when it came to civil rights events. Rustin participated in the first Freedom Ride in 1947, he introduced non-violent protesting to Martin Luther King Jr., and he was the chief organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.


Read Rustin's Wikipedia page here.

11. Christopher Isherwood

John F. Stephenson / Getty Images

Christopher Isherwood was an LGBTQ screenwriter and playwright who wrote the popular novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939), which was later adapted into the hit musical and movie Cabaret (1972). Isherwood moved to Berlin in the 1930s, finally feeling free to live his life as a queer man; he studied at Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Science and eventually fled Nazi Germany with his then-boyfriend, Heinz Neddermeyer. He continued writing plays, books, and movies, and published his famous memoir Christopher and His Kind (1979) about his time as a queer man in Berlin.


Read Isherwood's Wikipedia page here.

12. Nobuko Yoshiya


Yoshiya was a Japanese author, feminist, and one of the first women to write lesbian literature. From the 1910s through the 1940s, she wrote about romantic relationships between women in popular books like Hana monogatari (Flower Tales) and Yaneura no nishojo (Two Virgins in the Attic). She fought against gender norms by dressing androgynously and had a relationship with math teacher Monma Chiyo that lasted more than 50 years. Yoshiya eventually adopted Chiyo as her daughter because it was "the only way for lesbians to share property and make medical decisions for each other."


Read Yoshiya's Wikipedia page here.

13. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Chris Ware / Getty Images

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a famous singer and guitarist from the 1930s and 1940s who combined her roots in gospel music with rhythm and blues, planting the seeds of a music genre that would change the US forever: rock ‘n’ roll. She was known for singing songs like "This Train" and "Up Above My Head," and wore fancy dresses while shredding the heck out of a guitar. Tharpe had a romantic relationship with R&B singer Marie Knight while they toured together in the 1940s, but kept her sexuality out of the public eye.


Read Tharpe's Wikipedia page here.

14. Natalie Clifford Barney

Adoc-photos / Getty Images / Library Paul Ollendorf

Natalie Clifford Barney was an American-born poet, author, and lesbian who lived most of her adult life in Paris. In 1900, she released Quelques Portraits-Sonnets de Femmes (Some Portrait-Sonnets of Women), a collection of love poems written for women, published under her own name. For more than 60 years, Barney was known for hosting a weekly literary event called a salon, where she strongly advocated for books, poems, and plays written by women.


Read Barney's Wikipedia page here.

15. And Andy Warhol

Hulton Archive / Carl Court / Getty Images

Andy Warhol was an artist and film director from the 1950s and 1960s who was famous for documenting pop culture through a vibrant and colorful lens. He openly identified as LGBTQ and had a famous art studio in New York City called The Factory, where artists and celebrities of different races and sexualities gathered to create music, films, and photographs. He was a groundbreaking pop artist in the New York City scene and didn't hold back expressing his identity as a queer man through his work, like in his film Blow Job (1964).


Read Warhol's Wikipedia page here.

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