Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Jewelle Gomez

Born in Boston in 1948, Jewelle Gomez went to school at Northeastern University and then Columbia University, where she was awarded a Master’s degree in journalism. Gomez explored careers in television, teaching, and theatre before starting her career as a writer with a book of poetry, The Lipstick Papers, which she self-published in 1980 (See interview with Linda Nelson). Her most popular book, The Gilda Stories, published by Firebrand Books in 1991, tells the story of a young black woman who escapes slavery as a girl and becomes a lesbian vampire. In the novel, Gomez aligns heterosexuality and white supremacy, asserting homosexuality as a valid alternative to oppression and reframing the typical eroticism of vampire mythology. The Gilda Stories won two LAMBDA Literary awards, and was adapted into a performance piece called “Bones and Ash”  by the iconic dance group, Urban Bush Women. Gomez’s other works include Forty Three Septembers, a book of essays (Firebrand Books 1993); Don’t Explain, a book of short fiction (Firebrand Books 1997); Waiting for Giovanni, a play about the life of James Baldwin; and various essays, criticisms, and stories in numerous publications and anthologies. She also serves on the boards of GLAAD, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Human Sexuality Archives of Cornell University, and the Open Meadows Foundation. For a complete list of her publications, visit