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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: Lou Reed (1942-2013)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 10/28/13
Last updated on: 10/28/13
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Lou Reed in 2008. Photo by Marcelo Costa (CC BY 2.0).

Bisexual singer, songwriter, and guitarist Lou Reed, whose music exerted enormous influence on rock musicians, died on October 27, 2013 at his home in Amangassett, New York. The cause of death was complications from liver disease.

As Ben Ratliff observes in the New York Times, "Reed brought dark themes and a mercurial, sometimes aggressive disposition to rock music."

Tina Gianoulis reports in her glbtq.com entry on Reed that, at his parents' insistence, he underwent electroshock treatments for his homosexuality as a teenager. However, he emerged from the mental hospital "with his antisocial impulses (and bisexuality) more or less intact."

In 1965, Reed, as part of Andy Warhol's studio, The Factory, joined fellow musicians John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker to form the Velvet Underground. Warhol managed the band, which sold few albums and disbanded after only five years, but had an impact that lasted for decades.

Reed's songs for the Velvet Underground were about drugs and junkies, hustlers and drag queens, all performed with a bare-bones intensity that made them appealingly taboo.

After the breakup of Velvet Underground, Reed continued to violate taboos as a solo artist. In 1972, Reed issued his first solo album, Transformer, which was produced by David Bowie.

As Gianoulis observes "On Transformer, Reed changed his look from urban tough to glam-rock flash. He also introduced his most famous signature song, "Walk on the Wild Side," the story of a transgendered hooker's odyssey from Los Angeles to the hard streets of New York, told with an understated, ironic affection and a catchy backbeat.

Reed continued his solo career, producing well-reviewed albums every few years and frequently touring Europe and the United States.

Reed had a long very public affair with a transgender woman known only as Rachel, who is thought to have inspired many of his songs, including "Walk on the Wild Side," Reed's only top-40 hit. In addition, he was married three times.

Reed is survived by his wife, composer and singer Laurie Anderson, as well as his mother and sister.

The clip below highlights Reed's "Walk on the Wide Side"

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