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.
Frank Mugisha. Image courtesy rafto.no.
The Rafto Foundation, a Norwegian human rights organization dedicated to the promotion of intellectual, political, and economic freedom, announced on September 29, 2011 that the 2011 Rafto Prize will be awarded to Sexual Minorities Uganda and its executive director Frank Mugisha.
The Rafto Prize is awarded annually to individuals or organizations active in the non-violent struggle for the ideals and principles underlying the Human Rights Charter.
The foundation awarded the prize to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in recognition of its work to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
SMUG is a coalition of organizations that work for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Since its inception in 2004, SMUG has become a powerful voice for a stigmatized and persecuted minority. The coalition has played an important role in opposing the proposed "Kill the Gays Bill" and has attempted to use the Ugandan legal system to fight harassment and violence from government and private abusers.
Like many glbtq Ugandans, Frank Mugisha lives in fear. As he has remarked, "I don't know what could happen to me at any minute. I do not know who wants to hang me, I do not know who wants to attack me."
Mugisha's fear is well founded. David Kato, who was the most outspoken gay rights advocate in Uganda, was beaten to death on January 26, 2011 in his home on the outskirts of Kampala.
Police officials attributed the murder to robbery, but members of the besieged Ugandan glbtq community believe it was a direct result of the homophobic atmosphere promoted by American Evangelical Christians in 2009 and that led to the so-called "kill the gays" bill that awaits action in the nation's legislature. "David's death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. Evangelicals," said Val Kalende, the chairperson of one of Uganda's gay rights groups. "The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S. Evangelicals must take responsibility for David's blood."
In announcing the award of the 2011 Rafto Prize to SMUG and Frank Mugisha, the Rafto Foundation issued a statement saying that it "wishes to underscore that human rights encompass everyone and that it is unacceptable to persecute or discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity."
In addition, the Foundation "wishes to turn the spotlight on the serious human rights situation in Uganda. It wishes to highlight the fact that SMUG and Frank Mugisha's fight for the human dignity of a particularly vulnerable group is also part of a greater fight for democracy and social justice. By awarding the 2011 Rafto Prize, the Rafto Foundation recognizes Frank Mugisha and his colleagues for their work on human rights and hopes the award will help afford them greater protection and inspiration to continue working in what is a vulnerable and difficult situation."