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.
Congratulations to all who are celebrating the 25th annual National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2013. The holiday is a day of celebration, but it is also a day to assess the continuing stigmatization of gay youth, who are often bullied and intimidated by their peers and by religious and political figures, and to express appreciation to all who support equal rights.
National Coming Out day was first observed in 1988. Inspired by the success of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987, Jean O'Leary, then Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Rights Advocates, joined with psychologist Rob Eichberg to create an event that would increase the visibility of glbtq people and encourage those previously silent to make their voices heard.
The symbol of National Coming Out Day is Keith Haring's iconic image of a person joyously bursting from a closet. It underscores the individual nature of this step, fosters solidarity among those who have made it, and offers hope to those who, for whatever reason, have not yet been able to kick open the door.
Over the years, National Coming Out Day has drawn many celebrity spokespersons, including Billy Bean, Amanda Bearse, Chastity Bono, Dan Butler, Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge, Candace Gingrich, RuPaul, Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Michael Stipe, and Rufus Wainwright, among others. Allies, including Betty DeGeneres, the mother of Ellen DeGeneres and the project's first heterosexual spokesperson, Cher, and Cyndi Lauper, have also lent their voices to the effort.
National Coming Out Day has become a joyous occasion, particularly on college campuses, where young people are able to discover community and support. At the same time, however, the continuing problem of suicide among gay youths, who are often subjected to bullying and spiritual terrorism, means that this holiday is also a time of contemplation and reflection.
At a time when we are making progress toward achieving equal rights under the law, it is worth remembering that much of this process is attributable to the fact that so many of us have come out. It is also worth noting that much work remains to be done.
The Human Rights Campaign, along with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), have stressed the significance of straight people coming out as gay allies.
To celebrate the 25th National Coming Out Day, the Human Rights Campaign has released a brief video recounting some memorable moments in the national media involving the coming out of celebrities.