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 Jim Burroway on being honored with a National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Award for "Excellence in Online Journalism" for his investigation into the "Sissy Boy Experiments" conducted at UCLA in the 1970s. Published at his blog Box Turtle Bulletin in June 2011, Burroway's investigation, entitled What Are Little Boys Made Of?, focuses on the story of Kirk Murphy, who as a four-year-old effeminate boy was subjected to treatment by a graduate student named George Rekers.
Rekers would use the story of his "successful" treatment as the basis of his doctoral dissertation and, indeed, of his career. He frequently cited it as proof that homosexuality can be "cured" and used it to justify the practice of reparative therapy. A founder of the Family Research Council, Rekers served on the board of the National Association for Reparative Therapy, until being exposed as a charlatan when he was found to have hired a "luggage handler" from a male escort agency to accompany him on a European trip.
In a riveting example of investigative journalism, Burroway excavates the real story of Murphy, who committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 38. Far from having been "cured" of homosexuality as Rekers and other reparative therapists claimed, Murphy was tormented by the treatment he received as a child. A homosexual who was never able to form a lasting relationship with anyone, Murphy suffered depression and anxiety as a result of his experience.
The story of Kirk Murphy not only exposes the fraudulent claims of quacks like Rekers and other therapists who profess to cure homosexuality, but it also illustrates the lasting damage done by such therapy.
Burroway's award is richly deserved.
Burroway's investigation was the inspiration for a three-segment story featured on Anderson Cooper 360, called "Sissy Boy Experiments." Fittingly, Cooper's report was also honored by the NLGJA with an award for "Excellence in Network Television."
Other recipients of NLGJA "Excellence in Journalism" may be found here.
In the videos below, Cooper reports on the "Sissy Boy Experiments."
In the following video, Jim Burroway discusses the case of Kirk Murphy and the reparative therapy movement with Anderson Cooper.