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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.
In an op-ed that appeared on November 3, 2013 in several Maine newspapers, U.S. Representative Mike Michaud, who represents Maine's 2nd Congressional District and is running for governor, confirmed rumors circulated by his opponents that he is gay. The confirmation makes Michaud the seventh openly gay member of the House of Representatives. If he is elected Governor of Maine, he will become the first openly gay candidate to win a gubernatorial election.
In his op-ed, Michaud said that when he jumped to an early lead in his race for Governor, "I knew it was only a matter of time before individuals and organizations intent on re-creating the uncertainty that led to our current governor's election three years ago would start their attacks. . . . So I wasn't surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay."
He added, "Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: 'Yes I am. But why should it matter?'"
He goes on to explain that being gay is just a part of who he is, "as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine."
Adding that his private life has never affected his ability to do his job and will not do so if he is elected governor, he says, "I was brought up believing you should judge a person based on the content of his or her character, not by their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. That's a value I know most Mainers share."
Pledging to run a positive campaign that does not focus on either his or his opponents' personal lives, he explains, "I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position openly acknowledge the fact that he's gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better."
Michaud's op-ed may be read in its entirety here.
Michaud, who has served in Congress since 2003, joins six House colleagues--Jared Polis (Colorado), David Cicilline (Rhode Island), Sean Patrick Maloney (New York), Mark Pocan (Wisconsin), Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), and Mark Takano (California)--and Senator Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) as openly gay members of Congress.
In the campaign video below, Representative Michaud explains that he is "Made in Maine."