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.
Joshua Dixon in 2011.
Congratulations to Josh Dixon, whose strong performance at the U.S. Men's Qualifier meet on May 5, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado makes him a leading contender for a slot on the U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team at the London Olympics. If he makes the team, he would be America's first openly gay male gymnast to compete in the Olympics.
As Cyd Zeigler, Jr. reports at Outsports, Dixon finished second overall out of the 72 competitors at the Men's Qualifier, where he also tied for wins in the floor exercise and high bar events.
Dixon, who is a Stanford University senior, grew up in a multiracial household (he is half-black and half-Japanese) and has immersed himself in gymnastics since adolescence.
In high school he was a four-time member of the USA Junior National team and placed second all-around at the 2006 Visa U.S. Championships. His Stanford team won national championships in 2009 and 2011.
The next hurdle in Dixon's quest for a slot on the Olympic team is the Visa Championships, June 7-10 in St. Louis. The top 15 finishers at that meet then go on to the Olympic Trials, June 28-July 1, in his home town of San Jose. From there, six men will be chosen to represent the United States at the London Olympics.
Dixon began coming out to other athletes at Stanford in his sophomore year, and in his junior year he began dating another varsity athlete. When members of the gymnastics team noticed that he was spending a lot of time with a particular friend, they felt comfortable enough to question him about it.
News of his openness about his sexuality spread quickly through the close-knit gymnastics world. Happily, Dixon reports that he has not had a single negative reaction from other athletes.
He does acknowledge that he once felt self-conscious about being a gay man in what some label the "gay sport" of gymnastics. He worried about falling into a stereotype.
Dixon is currently the only U.S. Olympic contender in the sport who is openly gay, but he is certainly not the only elite American gymnast who is gay. He knows of several other highly accomplished gay gymnasts.
In the video below, Josh Dixon performs on the high bar at the 2011 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas.