Maria Popova: The Greatest LGBT Love Letters of All Time

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Maria Popova is a voracious reader. She posts her reflections on literature, which she calls “Brain Pickings.” She reads widely and writes about whatever interests her. Her interests are broad.

In this post, she gathers the greatest love letters of all time among people of the same sex. She does this to honor what is known as Pride Month.

Here you will find love letters by Margaret Mead, Eleanor Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, and more.

June has been auspicious for LGBT people. In June 2013, the U. S. Supreme Court struck down federal laws that prevented the recognition of gay marriage in a case called United States v. Windsor. Edie Windsor, a technology manager at IBM, lived with Thea Spyer for 40 years and cared for her as Thea’s health declined. They married in Canada in 2007. Thea died less than two years later.

The federal government proceeded to tax Thea’s estate, which she left to Edie, as if they were strangers. Edie owed the IRS almost $400,000. She fought the federal tax collectors to win recognition of the legitimacy of her marriage to Thea. She won in the lower courts and in the Supreme Court, clearing the way for gay marriage for others. Subsequently, she reveled in her role as a gay icon, leading parades and celebrations. Edie Windsor died in 2017 at the age of 88.

In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that discrimination in the workplace based on LGBT status was sex discrimination and therefore prohibited. Surprisingly, the decision was written by Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court.


With Edie Windsor, August 2013

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