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.
John Ashbery. Photograph by David Shankbone (CC BY 3.0).
In accepting the award, Ashbery spoke of the joys of writing poetry, which, he said, "gives me a pleasure I can almost taste." He added, "It is fun, though it isn't supposed to be. But somehow the difficulty is embedded in the pleasure."
Ashbery, who was born in 1929, is widely considered among the finest living American poets. Although he generally avoids explict gay content in his poems, his work is often marked by his experience as a gay man, especially in its ironic perspective, its evocation of camp, and its persistent exploration of the nature of identity.
Other winners of awards presented at the celebratory evening hosted by actor and author John Lithgow were Jesmyn Ward, who won the National Book Award for fiction for Salvage the Bones, and Steven Greenblatt, who won the National Book Award for nonfiction for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.
In addition, Nikky Finney won the award for poetry for Head Off & Split, while Thanhha Lai received the award for young people's literature for Inside Out and Back Again.
The category of young people's literature produced drama this year when Lauren Myracle was named to the original shortlist in that category for her book Shine, a novel about the experience of a gay teenager who is the victim of a hate crime.
Shortly afterward, however, the National Book Foundation announced that Myracle's book was included on the list by mistake. The Foundation said that it would stay on the shortlist anyway, but added a sixth book, Chime by Franny Billingsley, which had originally been intended to be a finalist.
Soon after that announcement, the Foundation reversed itself, asking Myracle to withdraw from consideration.
Myracle did so, but clearly felt that she had been treated unfairly. Although she agreed to withdraw, she requested that the National Book Foundation make a contribution to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates for gay youth. Reportedly, the National Book Foundation will donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.