We take a moment on the second Sunday in August to celebrate the very special places LGBTQ+ folks can enjoy within their families, and especially to their nephews and nieces, on Gay Uncles Day. This month we also celebrate the birthday of one of the most iconic gay uncles in history, writer, poet and playwright, James Baldwin, born on August 2, 1924.
One of James Baldwin’s most celebrated works is a piece published in The Progressive in 1962 entitled ‘A Letter to my Nephew’ - in it he encourages his 15-year-old nephew to practice understanding and fortitude as he approaches manhood in a world that is unaccepting and oppressive towards him and the rest of the black community. The Progressive re-issued it online 10 years ago here, and it’s sadly more relevant than ever.
James Baldwin, while widely recognized as gay today, had a complex relationship with his identity and challenged accepted terms in use during his lifetime – read more about his beliefs and writings here and here.
For all gay uncles in the world (out in the world or not), we celebrate all the joy you bring to your families – and if you don’t have a one in your life, read from these awesome books to enjoy some fictional ‘guncle’ stories!