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.
A victim of the McCarthy-era regulations that branded homosexuals as unfit for government employment, he fought tirelessly against discrimination against homosexuals on every front. Kameny and his friend Jack Nichols established the Mattachine Society of Washington, D. C. in August 1961. In opposition to many gay leaders at the time, Kameny embraced direct action. He believed that gay people should fight a "down-to-earth, grass-roots, sometimes tooth-and-nail battle" against discrimination.
He is credited with coining the slogan "Gay is Good." In recent years, Kameny received accolades for his heroic efforts to make America a more just nation. His house was designated an historic landmark by the D.C. Historic Preservation Board in 2009. In the same year, John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (formerly the Civil Service Commission), formally apologized to Kameny on behalf of the U.S. government for the "shameful action" of firing him in 1957. Berry also presented Kameny with the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the department's most prestigious honor.
As news of Kameny's death circulates, leaders of glbtq organizations have begun to laud his achievements. For example, Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, said that "Dr. Kameny stood up for this community when doing so was considered unthinkable and even shocking, and he continued to do so throughout his life. He spoke with a clear voice and firm conviction about the humanity and dignity of people who were gay, long before it was safe for him to do so. All of us who today endeavor to complete the work he began a half century ago are indebted to Dr. Kameny and his remarkable bravery and commitment."
Dr. Kameny reminisces about his activism earlier this year in this video: