Patricia Nell Warren has done it again. The prolific writer has given us another important book to remind the LGBT community of its long and powerful history. The Lavender Locker Room covers thousands of years of great athletes coming to terms with their sexually. Departing from her previous works of fiction, the author of The Front Runner and Harlan’s Race gives us a look into the world of jocks throughout history.
From Achilles to Navratilova, she skillfully chronicles the lives of athletes as they discover their sexuality and ability to love. Warren also shows us how history has been rewritten at times to avoid sexuality, thereby denying LGBT community important role models. In doing so, Warren continues to break down stereotypes and she can uniquely claim a specialty in the world of sports.
Warren, who has won almost every writing award around, captured our imagination with The Front Runner, a classic novel about the love of a coach for a player. To the people of my generation The Front Runner was the first best seller to break down the myths that there were no homosexuals in sports. The book also opened the door to a wave of media articles about homosexuality in sports. In many ways, some sports stars were able to find a path to coming out because of her extraordinary story of simple love.
The Lavender Locker Room further demonstrates Warren’s expertise in discussing sexuality and sports. More notably, however, she has given us a piece of authentic and often untold LGBT history. In order for young out people to be fully whole into today’s world, it is essential that they know and understand who paved their road to freedom. Our community has a rich and powerful history full of brave pioneers who made it possible for us all to stand tall.
As a lover of anything in literature dealing with Achilles, I found her first chapter about the love story of Achilles and Patroclus wonderful. Here is a short excerpt:
“The two men were a marriage of opposites. Achilles was a wild child, mercurial, passionate, who could go from charming to cruel in a blink. His fits of righteous rage were as legendary as his courage and fighting skills. We don’t know what he looked like, but Homer describes him as a handsome hunk with a shaggy chest and red-brown hair. He was considered the greatest warrior in all Greece. Patroclus was quieter, loyal and steady, but no less handsome and charismatic, with beautiful eyes. An animal lover, he surrounded himself with pet dogs and horses. As Achilles’ aide-the-camp and charioteer, Patroclus was not the equal of Achilles as a fighter, but greatly respected by the Myrmidons. “
We owe Patricia Nell Warren so much for her work as an author and activist in the struggle for equal rights for the LGBT community. She continues to give us amazing gifts and The Lavender Locker Room is no exception. What a fun, interesting and important book. I hope you pick it up and make it your end of summer read.