Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
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.
Independent films that aggressively assert homosexual identity and queer culture, the New Queer Cinema can be seen as the culmination of several developments in American cinema.
Renowned photographer, teacher, critic, editor, and curator, Minor White created some of the most interesting photographs of male nudes of the second half of the twentieth century, but did not exhibit them for fear of scandal.
The first international fashion superstar, Halston dressed and befriended some of America's most glamorous women.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
Film, stage, and television actor Paul Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but maintained public silence about his homosexuality.
We have previously congratulated eight openly gay or lesbian Olympic medalists, here and here. We now congratulate two more medalists: Lisa Raymond, who won a bronze medal in mixed doubles tennis; and Seimone Augustus, who won a gold medal as a member of the dominant U.S. Women's basketball team.
Seimone Augustus was an outstanding college basketball player for LSU and was a no. 1 WNBA draft pick. She plays for the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA, as well as for Moscow in the WBC. After overcoming a number of health problems, she led the Lynx to the 2011 WNBA championship and earned Most Valuable Player honors in the process. She helped make the American National team one of the most powerful in the history of women's basketball Olympic competition.
In May, she told Michelle Garcia of The Advocate that she and her girlfriend of five years, LaTaya Varner, are planning to marry this summer.
Lisa Raymond has achieved notable success as a doubles player. She has won 73 doubles titles in all, including 11 Grand Slam titles: 6 in women's doubles and 5 in mixed doubles. With partner Mike Bryan, with whom she also won the Wimbledon mixed doubles championship in 2012, she won the bronze medal in mixed doubles at the London 2012 Olympics.
As Cyd Zeigler observed on SBNation, "If Team Gay was a country, it would have finished 31st overall with seven medals, tied with Mexico, Ethiopia and Georgia. They would have beaten the medal count of such countries as Jamaica, Ireland, Argentina and India. They would have finished 21st overall for most golds (four), tied with Iran, Jamaica, Czech Republic and Korea."
There were, of course, many more glbtq Olympians than the 23 who were openly gay or lesbian, and many of the ones who are not publicly out may also have medaled. Still, the fact that ten of the 23 openly gay or lesbian Olympians medaled is amazing. It speaks admirably not only of their high level of accomplishment in their diverse sports, but also of their self-confidence and honesty.
The WNBA video below profiles Siemone Augustus.
The video below offers highlights from Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan's mixed doubles victory at Wimbledon.