Stanley Bennett Clay Remembers E. Lynn Harris

I first met Lynn in the early nineties, just as his well-deserved star began illuminating the literary horizon, thanks to Doubleday’s publication of his self-published phenom Invisible Life. At the time I was publisher and editor-in-chief of SBC Magazine, the largest national monthly for the Black LGBT community. I knew immediately that this was a groundbreaking artist who absolutely had to be celebrated in the pages of my magazine. But upon meeting Lynn for our first interview, I not only found a visionary, but a new friend, whose southern charm, gentle ways and generous spirit made him more than just an editorial feature subject.

As I recall the many, many phone calls and lunches that we shared over the years, the laughter, the gossip, the ups and downs of our love lives, our genuine appreciation of each other, and our partings that always ended with an “I love you, man/ I love you, too,” I will always hear in my head and in my heart the gentle ring of his smiling voice, rich with the warmth of his southern-gentleman way.

Though the pain of his loss is a void I fear cannot be filled, I take solace in the sweet memories that we shared; two black gay men that truly knew love, knew life, knew friendship and shared dreams of a community that could be changed with the stroke of a pen.

I love you, man. I miss you, too.

This July will be honoring the memory of author E. Lynn Harris, who passed away last year. As a part of our tribute, we asked his friends and peers to tell us about the important legacy of his work and his incredible impact on the community.