Author: Joel Derfner

Profile: Joel Derfner is an American author and composer. He was born in Washington D.C. U.S. He received his B.A. degree from the Harvard University and the MFA degree from New York University. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents being civil right activists took active part in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. As his father was Jewish, Joel grew up Jewish and at age seven was converted to Judaism. When Joel was 15 years, his parents found out that he was gay. He did his schooling at Porter-Gaud School and was keen in singing till his junior year of college. The back of his throat got numbed due to a severe attack of gastric reflux.

His articles have appeared in a number of publications including, Time Out New York, Huffington Post and Between the Lines. Derfner has been termed as one of the most well known gay writer’s as of today.

Besides composing many musicals he also teaches musical theatre composition at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He has also featured as co-star of the first season along with Sarah Rose his close friend, on the reality Show on television named Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, in the year 2010.

In 1992, Joel became treasurer of the Bisexual, Gay and Students Association, while attending Harvard University. He actively participated in other LGBT events and support groups. He also took part as vocal coach and singer in the Harvard College Opera. He received his BA degree in Linguistics with Honors in 1994, then in 1997 shifted to New York City to learn musical theatre composition. He received the MFA degree in 1999 in musical theatre writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at the New York University.

Writing style: Joel Derfner has authored all the three books on the gay theme and his works have been quoted as reference on gay culture.

Published Texts:

2005 – Gay Haiku

2008 – Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and What Ended Up Happening Instead

2013 – Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family

Awards and Acknowledgements:

2009 – Nominated for the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Memoir/Biography at the 21stLambda Literary Awards

2009 – Selected as a Stonewall Honor Book in Non-Fiction by the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Awards

2012 – Appeared on the PBS LGBT show In the Life

Derfner is on the faculty of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University