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.
The writers of the Beat Generation, many of whom were gay or bisexual, endorsed gay rights as a part of their rebellion against inhibition and self-censorship.
The Comedy of Manners, which flourished on the Restoration stage, has been particularly amenable to twentieth-century gay male writers as a vehicle for social satire in both dramatic and nondramatic works.
Using his and his family's experiences, particularly his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina, and his own wacky perspective on life, David Sedaris has become a world-famous humorist, comedian, writer, playwright, and radio personality.
From the great modernist writers of the 1920s and 1930s to the pulp writers of the 1950s to the lesbian writers of today, lesbian novelists have had a powerful impact on the lesbian community.
From its beginning, the nineteenth century in England had a purposeful homosexual literature of considerable bulk, both male and female, though it was fettered by oppression.
Persecuted for his homosexuality by the Castro government he had once championed, Cuban novelist, essayist, and poet Reinaldo Arenas challenged all types of ideological dogmatism.
Baudelaire was among the first French poets to include lesbians as subjects.
As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on November 22, 2012, it is appropriate to remember that "It Gets Better." Most of the music videos embedded below are inspired by Dan Savage and Terry Miller's "It Gets Better" project, founded in the fall of 2010 in the midst of an outbreak of gay youth suicide. Because things do get better, we have reason to be grateful.
In the video below, made in October 2010 to benefit the Trevor Project, Broadway stars reassure young people in an original song written by Jay Kuo & Blair Shepard.
In October 2010, members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles gathered to sing a song of hope, urging young people to show their "True Colors."
In July 2012, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles premiered this newly commissioned work based on the film score to Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain.
In October 2010, Dallas's Turtle Creek Chorale made this moving video to reassure young people that "It Gets Better."
Perhaps the most powerful "It Gets Better" musical video is the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus's rendition of Stephen Schwartz's "Testimony." Schwartz's 2012 composition features the voices of individuals in pain, but his work envisions triumph as suffering individuals come to find solace in communion with others. It acknowledges the heartbreaking anguish many gay people feel in a homophobic society, but it also joyfully celebrates the rewards of self-acceptance and the happiness that can be found by living life honestly. If you just "hang in" and "hang on" and accept yourself, the song advises, you can experience "the joy of living with authenticity."
Schwartz, who has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972), and Wicked (2003), collaborated with Savage as he set to music the heartfelt testimony of contributors to the "It Gets Better" project. The result is an extraordinarily moving work that is beautifully performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.
In the video below members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus sing Steve Schalchlin's "My Thanksgiving Prayer."