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.
Douglas Martin reports in the New York Times that photographer and actor Cris Alexander died in Saratoga Springs, New York on March 7, 2012. He was best known as a celebrity photographer and for the photos he contributed to Patrick Dennis's Little Me (1961).
Alexander was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on January 14, 1920. He came to New York in 1938 and initially found some success as an actor, appearing in a number of Broadway shows, including the 1944 Leonard Bernstein musical On the Town. But he soon found greater success as a photographer, becoming known for his portraits of Martha Graham and Vivien Leigh, and his work for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. For many years, he was the official photographer of the New York City Ballet.
Alexander, who had appeared in the 1956 Broadway play based on Patrick Dennis's 1955 novel Auntie Mame, readily agreed to collaborate with Dennis on a fictitious biography of a movie star, Little Me: The Intimate Memoirs of That Great Star of Stage, Screen and Television, Belle Poitrine. He contributed 150 photos to the book, which is now regarded as a classic satire. Actor and playwright Charles Busch described its publication as "a seminal moment in the popularization" of camp.
Alexander also contributed photographs to another mock biography by Dennis: First Lady (1964), the story of Martha Dinwiddie Butterfield, wife of a robber baron who "stole" the U. S. presidency.
Alexander married celebrated ballet dancer Shaun O'Brien in 2011, soon after same-sex marriage became legal in New York. The two were life partners for more than 60 years and died within two weeks of each other, O'Brien on February 23, 2012.
When asked the cause of Alexander's death, his friend Jane Klain replied, "If there is a cause of death, it's a broken heart. It's as simple as that."