On today's L.A. Times op-ed page, author Patrick Moore chides the LAT and the New York Times for not stating in last week's Susan Sontag obituaries that she was a lesbian who had a long relationship with photographer-celebrity Annie Leibovitz. The New York Daily News and the gay press did go there in their obits. Writes Moore:
In a 1995 New Yorker profile, Sontag outed herself as bisexual, familiar code for "gay." Yet she remained quasi-closeted, speaking to interviewers in detail about her ex-husband without mentioning her long liaisons with some of America's most fascinating female artists.
An unauthorized biography written by Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock and published by W.W. Norton in 2000, reports that Sontag was, for seven years, the companion of the great American playwright Maria Irene Fornes (in Sontag's introduction to the collected works of Fornes, she writes about them living together). She also had a relationship with the renowned choreographer Lucinda Childs. And, most recently, Sontag lived, on and off, with Leibovitz.
Sontag's reticence is surely part of why the two Timeses neglected this part of her life. But she didn't deny these relationships. And given that obituaries typically cite their subjects' important relationships, shouldn't the two best newspapers in the country have reported at least her most recent one, with Leibovitz, as well as her marriage, which ended in 1958?
Moore is the author of Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality. The photo above was shot by Leibovitz.
Previously: Susan Sontag dies at 71