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.
Ellen Degeneres (GNU Free Documentation License).
In the first week of February an utterly misnamed group called OneMillionMoms made headlines by calling for a boycott of the Dallas-based department store JC Penney for having hired Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson. A "project" of the hate group American Family Association, OneMillionMoms was offended that JC Penney had hired an open homosexual spokesperson when most of its customers are "traditional families." DeGeneres, the group declared on its website, "is not a true representation of the type of families who shop at the retailer. The small percentage of customers they are attempting to satisfy will not offset their loss in sales by offending the majority."
In response to the organization's threat of a boycott, JC Penney president Michael Francis issued a press release declaring, "We share the same fundamental values as Ellen. We couldn't think of a better partner to help us put the fun back into the retail experience."
Even conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly was appalled by OneMillionMom's demand that JC Penney fire DeGeneres. He was unable to get anyone from the organization to appear on his Fox News show, O'Reilly Factor, so he had to settle for equally loony Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, president of something called Culture Campaign, who lamented that DeGeneres "acted out her homosexual lifestyle."
In the video clip below, O'Reilly compares OneMillionMom's attack on DeGeneres to the witchhunts of the McCarthy era.
Finally, Ellen DeGeneres herself addressed the issue. On an episode of her show aired on February 8, 2012, she took the opportunity to express both her pleasure with the Ninth Circuit's decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional and her reaction to her "haters."
"They wanted to get me fired and I am proud and happy to say JC Penney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson," she told her studio audience. "It's great news for me because I need some new crew socks, and I'm really gonna clean up with this discount."
She said that her values are ""honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, these are traditional values."