Alexie identifies as straight yet his "semi-autobiographical" film The Business of Fancydancing, adapted from his first book of poems, is about a gay Native poet, Seymour Polatkin. In his public appearances and interviews, Alexie is an outspoken ally on lgbt rights and homophobia in the Native American community. Several of his books feature queer or two spirit characters, most prominently in his story collection The Toughest Indian in the World. When he ventured into YA territory and wrote The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian he won the 2007 National Book Award for young people's literature.
The three-person PEN Faulkner jury praised this novel saying, "War Dances taps every vein and nerve, every tissue, every issue that quickens the current blood-pulse: parenthood, divorce, broken links, sex, gender and racial conflict, substance abuse, medical neglect, 9/11, Official Narrative vs. What Really Happened, settler religion versus native spirituality; marketing, shopping and war, war, war. All the heartbreaking ways we don't live now — this is the caring, eye-opening beauty of this rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book."