Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.
Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.
San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
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.
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.