Although gay, lesbian, and queer theory are related practices, the three terms delineate separate emphases marked by different assumptions about the relationship between gender and sexuality.
The Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important gay and lesbian writers.
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.
Erotic and pornographic works have been written in many cultures since ancient times and recently have flourished with the relaxation of censorship.
Feminist literary theory is a complex, dynamic area of study that draws from a wide range of critical theories.
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Moisés Kaufman (left) and Paul Rudnick, two of the participating playwrights. Photograph by David Gordon, courtesy standingonceremony.net.
Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays opened on November 13, 2011 at New York's Minetta Lane Theater. Conceived by Brian Shnipper, the collection of monologues and short plays by some of the best known glbtq playwrights explore, mostly through wit and satire but also a great deal of poignance, the complex emotions of gay and lesbian couples on the cusp of equal rights in the United States.
The nine plays currently performed as Standing on Ceremony are The Revision by Jordan Harrison; This Marriage Is Saved by Joe Keenan; This Flight Tonight by Wendy MacLeod; On Facebook by Doug Wright; Strange Fruit by Neil LaBute; The Gay Agenda by Paul Rudnick; London Mosquitoes by Moisés Kaufman; and Pablo and Andrew at the Altar of Words by José Rivera.
Directed by Stuart Ross, the plays are performed by a rotating cast of actors who currently include Craig Bierko, Mark Consuelos, Polly Draper, Harriet Harris, Beth Leavel, and Richard Thomas.
New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood describes the "mostly genial, often funny" omnibus as "essentially a staged celebration of the recent advances in winning marital rights for gay and lesbian couples, and how the changing laws are changing lives."
Although Standing on Ceremony has just begun its New York run, the project originated in Los Angeles, where it was originally produced as a series of benefits before evolving into a separate theatrical evening.
As in the Los Angeles production, a portion of each ticket purchased to every performance in New York will be donated to marriage equality organizations.
Following the preview on Monday, November 7, which was live-streamed to more than 40 theaters across America, the producers presented a $5,000 check to Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson.