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.
Alan Sues. Video still courtesy Todd Lampe.
Comic actor Alan Sues died in Los Angeles on December 1, 2011, apparently as the result of a heart attack.
Sues gained fame as a member of the cast of the seminal comedy-sketch television show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. He joined the cast in 1968, its second season, and remained with the show until 1972, the year before it went off the air.
Laugh-In launched the careers of such television stars as Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Jo Anne Worley, and Flip Wilson.
On the show, Sues played a number of flamboyant characters, most of whom displayed stereotypically gay mannerisms. They included a hung-over children's entertainer; an effeminate sportscaster; and a drag impersonator of Jo Anne Worley.
Sues never officially came out during his period of fame, fearing that doing so would have ended his career. "It wasn't because he was ashamed of being gay; it was because he was surviving as a performer," his friend Michael Michaud told the New York Times.
Michaud added that Sues was an inspiration to many gay viewers. "Many gay men came up to him and said how important he was when they were young because he was the only gay man they could see on television," he said.
Sues, who had been trained as a dramatic actor, found himself typecast as an over-the-top comedian as a result of the success of Laugh-In.