Poet Charlie Vázquez, left, Writer Justin Torres, middle, Novelist Charles Rice-Gonzalez, right (Photo credit NBC Latino)

On gay pride weekend, 3 LGBT authors you should know

In honor of gay pride weekend, we’ve put together a list of Latino LGBT authors to watch. Whether it is a story about struggling to reconcile with culture, or writing about coming out, here are three nationally-acclaimed Latino authors whose experiences of coming out to their families through written words has created a way for conversations about  stereotypes, racial identity and sexuality to begin among families.

  1. Novelist Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Rice-Gonzales grew up in the rough Hunts-Point neighborhood in the Bronx. He channels his gay coming-of-age story in his book “Chulito,” which paints a compelling portrait of a young urban teen who finds love in his colorful South Bronx neighborhood.

“I came out to my mother four times,” said the half-Puerto Rican, half black author in a previous interview with NBC Latino, explaining the difficulty of coming out in a culture “so heterosexualized.”

2.  Poet Charlie Vázquez

Born and raised in New York City, writer/poet Charlie Vázquez has found personal redemption through written words—discussing LGBT issues for both gay and straight readers based on experiences living as an openly gay Latino.

“I’m Latino. I’m gay. I am both of those things and to recognize that is a celebration of my sexuality and my roots,” said the 41-year-old author in a previous interview with NBC Latino.

The Brooklyn resident has worked to reconcile his environment with his sense of being; his sexuality with his family; and his interests with his love of the written word. Following the release of  his book “Buzz and Israel,” Vázquez has written “Business as Usual,” “Contraband” and has authored several essays published in anthologies including “Best Gay Love Stories: New York City” (2006) and “Queer and Catholic” (2008).

But as busy as the prolific poet may be, he still finds time to be a literary mentor to other LGBT authors and sharpen the voice of young gay writers who, like him, are using literature as a means to tap into their own sense of pride.

3.  Writer Justin Torres

American novelist Justin Torres is part of a movement of Latino pioneers who are exploring topics that once went unspoken, both at home and in the arts. As a Latino LGBT author, he is creating a way to encourage open communication about being gay in the Hispanic community.

His first novel, “We The Animals” tells the story of three brothers as they grow up. It received wide critical acclaim and made the New York Times bestseller list.

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