Although gay, lesbian, and queer theory are related practices, the three terms delineate separate emphases marked by different assumptions about the relationship between gender and sexuality.
The Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important gay and lesbian writers.
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.
Erotic and pornographic works have been written in many cultures since ancient times and recently have flourished with the relaxation of censorship.
Feminist literary theory is a complex, dynamic area of study that draws from a wide range of critical theories.
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Former DNC Chairperson Howard Dean. Photograph by Matt Wright (GFDL 1.2).
On April 4, Freedom to Marry announced that four former chairs of the Democratic National Committee have endorsed a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party's 2012 platform.
The former chairs--Howard Dean, Donald Fowler, Steve Grossman, and David Wilhelm--joined such other officials as former Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa in calling for the Party to take an unambiguous position in favor of marriage equality. A marriage plank has also been endorsed by nearly two dozen senators and other high ranking officials.
The growing impetus for a marriage plank in the Party platform increases the pressure on President Obama to "evolve" toward his own embrace of equal marriage rights.
Inasmuch as the Republican Party will almost certainly include a platform denouncing marriage equality, the question of equal rights will be a defining issue separating the parties in the 2012 Presidential election. All the remaining Republican Presidential candidates, including favorite Mitt Romney, have signed the National Organization for Marriage's pledge to oppose same-sex marriage.
Angela Dallara posts the statement from the former DNC chairs at Freedom to Marry's website.
The statement reads, "We are proud that the Democratic Party fights for working families, economic justice, and equal opportunity for all. Times change but our principles must always remain strong. That is why, as former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, we stand with Freedom to Marry, 22 Democratic senators, Leader Nancy Pelosi, and more than 35,000 Americans in urging the Party to include a freedom to marry plank in the platform that is ratified at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September."
Dean served as DNC Chair from 2005 to 2009; Fowler from 1995 to 1997, during President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign; Grossman from 1997 to 1999, during President Clinton's second term; and Wilhelm from 1993 to 1994, during President Clinton's first term.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, issued the following statement in response to the announcement from the former chairs: "Fighting for families, freedom, and inclusion in the American Dream is the Democratic Party's DNA--its history, values, and vision for the country. That's why so many of the most influential Party leaders--including, today four of the most recent Party chairs--support a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party platform."
In the clip below, Fowler appears on Jennifer Granholm's Current TV show to explain why the four former chairs endorsed the marriage equality plank.