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.
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.