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.
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."