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.
Congratulations to The Advocate, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary of publication. America's leading glbtq newsmagazine is marking its anniversary with a remarkable time-line and an editorial in which editor Matthew Breen recounts the magazine's storied history and rededicates it to its role as an agent of change.
In his Editor's Letter, Breen writes that "We reinvigorate ourselves in [the founders'] work knowing that, from the beginning, The Advocate has been an agent for change, a voice for the marginalized, and a connective thread that brought isolated people together; even if our most solitary readers couldn't always meet other LGBT folks, then at least they knew others existed--and that the fight for rights and visibility was under way."
Breen recounts the magazine's humble beginning as a 12-page mimeographed publication surreptitiously copied by gay men who worked for ABC Television in the basement of the network's Los Angeles offices and distributed from behind the counters of the city's gay bars.
He then observes, "Between 1967 and today, we've seen this publication transform from a secretly mimeographed newsletter with few resources and a big goal to a multimedia brand, in print, online, and on mobile devices. We've developed from reporting on bar raids to documenting the struggle for our rights in the decriminalization of homosexuality, advancements in marriage equality, the end of institutionalized discrimination in our armed forces, and the explosion in LGBT media and representation in the entertainment industry. And all along, The Advocate has been reporting on those sea changes in our culture, and we've been sparking conversation.
Over the years The Advocate has been criticized for some of its editorial policies and its commercialism. Kenneth Pobo, for example, observed in the glbtq.com overview of Journalism and Publishing, "The Advocate's transformation from a radical, underground newspaper to a respectable, mainstream publication is itself a kind of parable of the relative success of the gay and lesbian liberation movement and, perhaps, of its cooptation by middle-class consumerism." But there is no denying that the publication has been a crucial voice in creating a national community and in recording the history of the struggle for equal rights.
On its 45th anniversary, The Advocate editors have assembled an extraordinary time-line that highlights many of the most significant stories that have been covered by the magazine. The time-line, entitled "45 Years: What History Should Remember," may be found here.
Among the most notable events included in the time-line is the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that invalidated sodomy laws in the United States and established a constitutional right to sexual expression by glbtq adults.
The video below, produced by Lambda Legal, whose attorneys argued the case, explains Lawrence v. Texas.