The American author of works such as The Sexual Outlaw, City of Night, and Numbers, he is considered a pioneer of LGBT literature. He is also known for The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez and other works of Chicano literature.
After publishing his debut work, City of Night, in 1963, he taught in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California.
He was the first novelist to receive the PEN-USA-West Lifetime Achievement Award.
His relationship with partner Michael Snyder lasted several decades.
He and James Baldwin both wrote about homosexual themes.