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Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
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.
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
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.
In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Emile Griffith (1938-2013)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 07/24/13
Last updated on: 07/24/13
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Emile Griffith.

Bisexual boxing champion Emile Griffith died on July 23, 2013 in Hempstead, New York, the result of kidney failure and complications of dementia. During the period from the late 1950s through the mid-1970s, Griffith was a leading boxer. He held the world welterweight championship three times, the middleweight title twice, and the newly created junior middleweight title once. But he was best known for the fatal beating he administered to rival Benny Paret in 1962 to regain his welterweight championship and for the rumors of homosexuality that dogged him throughout his career.

As Richard Goldstein recounts in his New York Times obituary of Griffith, the third fight between Griffith and Paret for the welterwight championship was touted as a grudge match because during the weigh-in Paret had referred to Griffith as gay, using the Spanish epithet "maricón." The insult seemed to goad Griffith to a fury that resulted in his decisive victory in the match, a victory that, unfortunately, led to Paret's death ten days later.

Griffith was born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, but was reared in New York. He became a national Golden Gloves champion as a teen-ager and turned professional in 1958. He won his first championship in 1961. In 1977, after losing a career-unprecedented three straight bouts, he retired.

In boxing circles Griffith was widely rumored to be gay. After his retirement, he acknowledged his attraction to men, but said that he was bisexual.

In 1992, Griffith was the victim of a gay bashing. He was severely beaten after leaving a gay bar in New York's Times Square, his kidneys damaged so badly that he was near death. The assailants were never caught.

In 2005, he told Sports Illustrated, "I will dance with anybody. I've chased men and women. I like men and women both."

That same year, he told New York Times columnist Bob Herbert that he had struggled his entire life with his sexuality, and agonized over what he could say about it. He said he knew it was impossible in the early 1960s for an athlete in an ultramacho sport like boxing to say, "Oh, yeah, I'm gay."

Herbert concluded that "after all these years, he wanted to tell the truth. . . . He no longer wanted to hide."

Griffith is survived by three brothers, four sisters, and his longtime companion, caretaker, and adopted son Luis Griffith.

The story of Griffith and Paret is detailed in the touching video below.

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