Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.
Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.
San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
Given the ugliness demonstrated by so many of the supporters of North Carolina's Amendment One, it is tempting to believe that most of the state is composed of the liars, fanatics, and creeps who have emerged to lead the dispiriting campaign to write discrimination into the state constitution. But if there is plenty of evidence of North Carolina Ugly, we also need to remember that the tarheel state is composed not solely of crazies like Baptist preachers Patrick Wooden and Sean Harris or of rednecks who shoot or urinate on opposing campaign signs. A video recently released by a North Carolina string quartet featuring James Travis Creed and Billie Karel serves as a perfect antidote to North Carolina Ugly.
The musicians in the video include Creed (guitar, vocals), Karel (vocals), Karen Strittmatter Galvin (violin), Maria Evola (violin), Peng Li (cello), and Amy Mason (viola). The song, "Vote against Amendment One," is by Laurelyn Dossett. The string arrangement is by Karen Strittmatter Galvin.
The lyrics to the song are as follows.
Stranger there across the room / Your children are my children too / When seven days of May are done / I'll vote against amendment one
Father one or fathers two / Your family is my family too / Ties that bind won't be undone / We'll vote against amendment one
Love thy neighbor, word and true / Your neighbor is my neighbor too / To work beside and lean upon / And vote against amendment one
Points of light and points of view / Your city is my city too / The crumbling walls we'll overrun / To vote against amendment one
We cannot see for red or blue / But your state it is my state too / And when the 8th of May is come / We'll vote against amendment one
We'll rise up with the morning sun / And vote against amendment one / The sounding cry has just begun / We'll vote against amendment one
James Travis Creed has issued this statement: "Working in the Arts has opened my eyes and torn down walls. The people I love come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. I am happy to do my part to ensure ALL North Carolinians can live their life as they please and be happy. I am thankful to have such talented friends and honored to play a small role in making my state a better place to live."
A hat tip to Jeremy Hooper whose excellent coverage of Amendment One at his GoodAsYou blog brought this gentle and beautiful song to my attention.