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.
Jennifer Neuman-Roper (right) with her wife Angelique.
Jennifer Neuman-Roper, one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU's New Mexico marriage equality lawsuit, died on November 8, 2013 of brain cancer. On August 23, she married Angelique Neuman, her partner of more than 20 years, at Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center in Santa Fe, where she was undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.
When a county clerk in Las Cruces decided to begin issuing marriage licenses earlier in August, Neuman and Roper were tempted to travel there to marry. However, Neuman's condition made it impossible to travel to Las Cruces, which is 300 miles away. So the couple sought permission to marry in Santa Fe.
"I want to know that my family will be protected if I pass away," Neuman-Roper said. "Angelique and I have been married in our hearts for 21 years and raised three wonderful children together. Because of my illness, we do not have the luxury of waiting years for the courts to decide whether loving, committed same-sex couples can marry in New Mexico. For us, the time is now."
On August 23, after a judge ordered Santa Fe County to begin issuing marriage licenses, county clerk sent a staffer to the hospital to issue Roper and Neuman a marriage license. They were married hours later that day.
Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico, issued a statement on November 11 lauding Neuman-Roper. Her participation in the lawsuit "helped open the door for thousands of same-sex couples to celebrate their love and commitment in marriage here in our state," he said.
"She was a beloved member of her community, a loving mother and wife, and a trail blazer for marriage equality in New Mexico. She will be missed."
The New Mexico Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling soon that is likely to extend marriage equality throughout the state.
Neuman-Roper is survived by her wife, Angelique, and sons Jayms, David, and Damion.
The video below reports on the wedding of Jennifer and Angelique Neuman-Roper.