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.
In response to President Obama's disappointing performance in the first presidential debate of the campaign, activist and sage David Mixner reminds us that we must keep on keeping on. In his Live from Hell's Kitchen blog, Mixner warns that we must not simply wring our hands in despair. We must work for the re-election of the President. The consequences are likely to be dire if the Republicans return to power.
Those of us who watched the debate probably went to sleep last night disturbed and woke up this morning depressed. The President seemed unengaged and aloof. He allowed Republican challenger Mitt Romney to simply lie about both the President's and his own records and proposals. Unchallenged, Romney went on to score an impressive triumph in the debate.
Mixner, a leading political analyst and fundraiser and now a revered elder of the glbtq movement for equal rights, who has been involved in most of the crucial civil rights struggles of his lifetime, entitled his blog "An Urgent Personal Message from David Mixner." It may be accessed here.
He begins by saying, "Let's not kid ourselves the debate was not good for our President. But before we start wringing our hands and wishing things were different it is important to remember one thing. How tragic it would be for us to win in four states with our marriage equality measures in November and then face a Constitutional Amendment banning it?"
He points out that "Every single Republican Senator who will become Chair of a committee in the United States Senate if the Republicans take control has endorsed such an amendment. Mitt Romney has endorsed it. Paul Ryan has voted for it."
"And," Mixner adds, "if you don't think there are enough states who will ratify it, I suggest you take a good look at the map and count the states that would ratify the amendment almost over night. I count 29 that would do it in a heartbeat."
In addition, he observes, "You can kiss any Supreme Court decisions in the future good-bye."
This election is crucial for the glbtq equal rights movement. As Mixner writes, "Never have we as a community been so close to full equality and never have we been so close to losing it all in this election."
He concludes by urging us to "get the job done."
"Just do what the courageous and noble LGBT community has always done in the times of adversity. Fight back. Fight hard. Ignore the odds. Show others how it is done. Most importantly take this nation to a new place in its politics, hearts and values."
It was recently announced that Mixner will be honored at a fundraiser on October 26, 2012 for the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The event to benefit the center that supports homeless glbtq youth will be hosted by MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts. White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard will present the award to Mixner for his many years of service to the glbtq community.
In the video below, Mixner, one of the founders of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, speaks at the twentieth anniversary celebration of the organization.