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.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, now a candidate for the U. S. Senate, addresses the LGBT Caucus at the Convention.
The big news out of Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on September 5, 2012 was the virtuouso performance of former President Bill Clinton, who nominated President Obama for re-election and eviscerated the Republican candidates. In addition, however, the visibility of glbtq delegates and issues continued to be a prominent feature of the 2012 Convention.
In the New York Times, Adam Nagourney reports on this new visibility, which I also noted here. "After years of struggling for attention and recognition from the nation's political parties, gays and lesbians have catapulted to the forefront of the Democratic convention here, prominent on the stage, in speeches, in the platform and at parties that go on after the proceedings have finished."
"The turnaround," Nagourney writes, "has surprised even gay leaders, who just four years ago were frustrated in their attempt to get same-sex marriage mentioned in prime time."
"I have certainly never attended a convention where visibility is as significant as it has been at this convention," said Representative Tammy Baldwin, a gay Wisconsin Democrat who is running for the Senate and is set to address the convention on Thursday. "There is amazing progress to celebrate."
Historian Eric Marcus remarked upon a striking phenomenon--the pride of our allies in declaring their support for gay issues: "I used to think I was bold in being as out as I am, but now I feel like our straight supporters have zoomed past me in their enthusiasm and their out-ness about being pro-gay. They're actually wearing their pro-gay agenda as a badge of honor. What a transformed world from my youth."
Nagourney remarks that "The higher profile of gays extended beyond the arena. It was not uncommon to see same-sex couples walking hand in hand down Tryon Street, in the heart of Uptown. Parties sponsored by gay and lesbian groups have become as sought after as the ones sponsored by Google and by the Illinois delegation."
Representative Barney Frank, who spoke at the 1992 convention and will be one of the prime-time speakers Thursday night, told an interviewer: "It's gotten better and better on a continuous basis. We are close to winning this fight."
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, introduced First Lady Michelle Obama at a glbtq fund-raising luncheon. He said that what was most striking is how gay issues and figures have been integrated so fully into the convention.
"It's an incredible, noticeable, historic difference," he said. "Now equality is integrated in the party. In conversation after conversation people are talking about it."
California Assembly Speaker John Pérez addressed the Convention on Wednesday. He referenced the Democratic Party's history of fighting for glbtq rights.
On Wednesday, Representative Tammy Baldwin spoke to the LGBT Caucus and contrasted the difference between previous conventions and the 2012 convention.