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.
The stamp, which was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, centers on a photograph of Milk taken by Daniel Nicoletta.
A press release from the United States Postal Service issued on April 21, 2014 announced that the Harvey Milk commemorative stamp is now available for pre-order. The "forever" stamp will be issued on May 22, the anniversary of the martyred gay rights leader's birth, which California celebrates as "Harvey Milk Day."
In the press release, the USPS describes Milk as "a visionary leader who became an iconic figure in the struggle for gay civil rights. In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States. His career was tragically cut short nearly a year after he took office, when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated."
The stamp, which was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá centers on a photograph of Milk taken by Daniel Nicoletta in front of Milk's camera store in San Francisco's Castro District. The colors of the gay pride flag appear in a vertical strip in the top left corner.
The Postal Service notes that Milk "was an eloquent speaker with a winning sense of humor and was able to build coalitions between diverse groups. His achievements gave hope and confidence to gay people at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility."
In 2009 President Obama awarded Milk a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In presenting the medal to Milk's nephew, Stuart Milk, who is also gay, Obama remarked: "For much of his early life, he had silenced himself. In the prime of his life, he was silenced by the act of another. But in the brief time in which he spoke--and ran, and led--his voice stirred the aspirations of millions of people. He would become, after several attempts, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office. And his message of hope--hope unashamed, hope unafraid--could not ever be silenced. It was Harvey who said it best: 'You gotta give 'em hope.'"
A movement to commemorate Milk's birthday, May 22, as "Harvey Milk Day" in California finally achieved success in 2010 after years of lobbying.
The stamp may be pre-ordered from the USPS here. Orders will be delivered following the stamp's issuance on May 22.
The stamp's official first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place May 22 at the White House.
In addition, there will be a special dedication ceremony in San Francisco on May 28, 2014.