Editor, author, journalist and public speaker Linda Villarosa has received distinguished recognition for her work in the African American and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Among the honors bestowed upon Villarosa were awards from The American Medical Writers’ Association, The Arthur Ashe Institute, Lincoln University, the New York Association of Black Journalists, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists’ Association and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.
Villarosa has contributed her time and talent to national magazines throughout her career including the very popular publications Glamour, Health, Latina, the New York Times Book Review, Essence Magazine, Science Times, O Magazine, Vibe and Woman’s Day. Her column on the lesbian website AfterEllen is called “Outside the Lines” and she is a regular contributor to the daily online magazine for black audiences called The Root.
Born on January 9, 1959, Villarosa always suspected that she was different from the other girls. Although she served on the cheerleading squad during high school, ran on the track team, wore dresses, and dated boys, she felt apart from the other girls in her class.
The University of Colorado graduate released her very first novel to the world in 2008. It was titled, “Passing for Black” and it earned the ambitious journalist a Lambda Literary Award nomination. In an interview with SheWrites, the author shared, “I wanted to write a book about passing, but didn’t want it to be historical fiction. I think of it as a coming-out story with the larger theme of passing. I was inspired by the work of early 20th-century authors Nella Larsen and Charles Chesnutt. Passing is also part of my own history: My mixed-race grandmother “passed for white,” in a town outside of Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s, causing a long and painful rift in our family.”
In addition to “Passing for Black,” Villarosa has written or co-written numerous additional literary works. She also lends her support to companies and organizations seeking editorial consultation and instruction, including: American Express Publishing, Dr. Phil, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Meredith Corporation. Villarosa also trained journalists from around the world to better cover the international HIV/AIDS epidemic and cover the International AIDS conferences in Barcelona, Bangkok and Toronto.
Villarosa came out of the closet in the early 1990’s in Essence Magazine. She and her partner live in Brooklyn, New York with their two children. She also serves as the program director in the journalism department at the City College of New York (CCNY).
* Photo originally published at LindaVillarosa.com. Used with permission.