The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
In British law, Section 28 of the Local Government Act, enforced from 1988 until 2003, prohibited the promotion of homosexuality and teaching the acceptability of homosexuality as a "pretended family relationship".
The Hijras--men who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for generations, maintaining a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition.
The dominant ideology among politicized lesbians during the 1970s and 1980s, Lesbian Feminism was based on the premise that lesbianism and feminism were inextricably linked.
Harvey Milk, among the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, making him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.
By the early twentieth-century, YMCAs had become popular havens for men who sought sex with other men.
Compulsory heterosexuality is the assumption that women and men are innately attracted to each other emotionally and sexually and that heterosexuality is universal, a view that leads to an institutional inequality of power that privileges heterosexual males and denigrates women, especially lesbians.
Robert K. Martin.
Pioneering gay studies scholar Robert K. Martin died in Montréal on February 20, 2012 of complications arising from Parkinson's disease. Beginning with the groundbreaking book The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry (1979), Martin's work helped establish gay and lesbian lesbian literary studies as respectable specialties within North American universities.
After receiving his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1967, Martin moved to Montréal, where he taught at Concordia University until he was recruited by the Université de Montréal in the early 1990s.
As Judith Herz, his friend and former colleague, explains, "From then to the early 2000s, he brought about an extraordinary transformation in the Département d'études anglaises. Working closely with his colleagues, he made it possible for students, undergraduate and graduate, to take courses in fields such as Women's Literature, African-American Literature and Postcolonial Literature. He developed an impressive graduate program, fostered the department's research profile, and cultivated its implication in a French institution."
Martin's books included Hero, Captain, and Stranger: Male Friendship, Social Critique, and Literary Form in the Sea Novels of Herman Melville (1986) and a revised and expanded edition of The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry.
In addition, Martin edited The Continuing Presence of Walt Whitman: The Life after the Life (1992). With Judith Scherer Herz, he edited E. M. Forster: Centenary Revaluations (1982). With George Piggford, he edited Queer Forster (1997). With Eric Savoy, he edited American Gothic: New Interventions in a National Narrative (1998). With Leland Person, he edited Roman Holidays: American Writers and Artists in Nineteenth-Century Italy (2002).
Martin also wrote more than 50 essays, many of them seminal, such as his brilliant analysis of "Edward Carpenter and the Double Structure of Maurice."
As Herz observes, Martin's work was "audacious and courageous" and very influential. "Robert started something that has continued on in the work of countless scholars."
On April 16, 2012, friends and colleagues and former students gathered "to remember, mourn, and celebrate this extraordinary and beloved man, a teacher and a scholar, a person who truly knew how to live in the world." As Herz describes the gathering, "There were reminiscences, testimonials, readings, a great sadness in all our hearts, and yet at the end of the day, a feeling of satisfaction, so complete was our appreciation, so present was he in our minds."
A brilliant teacher, scholar, and friend, Robert Martin was also, as Herz concludes, "a wonderful human being whom we miss so much."
For glbtq.com, Martin contributed the survey of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the entries on Herman Melville and Walt Whitman.