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.
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. Image courtesy The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
Congratulations to Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera on receiving the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defenders Award on October 13, 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. Nabagesera, leader of Freedom to Roam, a Ugandan lesbian group, is the first gay rights activist to receive the award, considered to be second in prestige only to that of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender award is named after the first secretary-general of Amnesty International. The Ennals Foundation is supported by several European governments, including Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, as well as private organizations and individuals. The jury that chose Nabagesera was composed of representatives of ten leading human rights organizations.
Hans Thoolen, chairman of the Martin Ennals Foundation, described Nabagesera as "a leading light, an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity."
The award was presented by Kyung-wha Kang, the Deputy High Commissioner of Human Rights, on behalf of Navanthelam Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights.
In accepting the award, Nabagesera, who has lived with unremitting threats of violence, asserted that "the struggle for human rights is one struggle and no human rights defender should be left to do this work alone. Courage is our virtue, and freedom is our goal." She emphasized that before she was a lesbian, she was a woman, and before she was a woman, she was a human, and that all people are entitled to human rights.
The announcement of the Martin Ennals Award to Nabagesera comes less than a month after fellow Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha received the Rafto Prize from the the Rafto Foundation, a Norwegian human rights organization dedicated to the promotion of intellectual, political, and economic freedom.
Both honors reflect the international concern for the plight of Ugandan glbtq people, who face discrimination, violence, and sometimes death, as in the case of David Kato, the Ugandan activist who was murdered in January. The hatred of gay people in Uganda is epitomized by the country's proposed "Kill the Gays Bill," which is believed to have been promoted by American Evangelical Christians.