Today we will look at the feminist mystery writer Rita Mae Brown. Rita is best done for her book Rubyfruit Jungle which dealt with lesbian issues. It was quite extraordinary to write on such topics back in 1973 when the book was published.
Rita Mae Brown was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1944. She attended The University of Florida then transferred to New York University. She received her first degree in English. “Later she received another degree in cinematography from the New York School of Visual Arts. Brown received a Ph.D. in literature from Union Institute & University in 1976, and holds a doctorate in political science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
This accomplished writer has written 37 books, is a feminist activist, screenwriter, lesbian pioneer, fox hunter and animal lover. She is also known for having a relationship with tennis champion Martina Navratilova.
Rita Mae Brown started her political career in the 1960s. She took on several political issues such as the American Civil Rights Movement , feminist and Gay liberation movements along with the anti-Vietnam war movement. She was once the president of National Organization for Women, but left over the remarks Betty Freidan made about gays. As she explains, she was kicked out.
Rita Mae Brown had very controversial opinions for her time. She co-founded the The Furies Collective, a feminist newspaper and is quoted as saying, “I don't believe in straight or gay. I really don't. I think we're all degrees of bisexual."
Interview with Time Magazine
Rita Mae Brown was interviewed by Time Magazine in 2008. When asked how Rubyfruit Jungle, her first lesbian novel and its success changed her life she responded she never had a clue it would become so successful because at first nobody wanted to publish it. She had to publish with a very small company. Then after a while it started to take off. Bantam took notice, bought off the smaller company and a million copies were sold.
Rita Mae Brown went on to say in the interview that she is not sorry about her struggles in the 70s championing gays and lesbians recognition and rights. She was up for the fight and those experiences made the person she is today.