Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
Independent films that aggressively assert homosexual identity and queer culture, the New Queer Cinema can be seen as the culmination of several developments in American cinema.
Renowned photographer, teacher, critic, editor, and curator, Minor White created some of the most interesting photographs of male nudes of the second half of the twentieth century, but did not exhibit them for fear of scandal.
The first international fashion superstar, Halston dressed and befriended some of America's most glamorous women.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
Film, stage, and television actor Paul Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but maintained public silence about his homosexuality.
Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died on July 23, 2012 at her home in San Diego of complications from pancreatic cancer. A physicist who flew on the shuttle Challenger in 1983 and on a second flight in 1984, Ride was fiercely protective of her private life and was not publicly out as a lesbian, but her relationship with her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaugnessy, was well known to friends and colleagues. She is survived by O'Shaughnessy, as well as by her mother, Joyce; a sister, Bear; and a niece and a nephew.
As Denise Grady reports in the New York Times, Dr. Ride was not only the first American woman to fly in space, but, at age 32, also the youngest American to do so. She was also the only person to sit on both panels investigating the catastrophic shuttle accidents of the Challenger in 1986 and the Columbia in 2003.
As a young woman Dr. Ride was a nationally ranked amateur tennis player who was advised by Billy Jean King to pursue a career as a professional. She did not accept that advice, choosing instead to pursue her interest in science. She earned a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Stanford University in 1978.
After retiring from NASA, she became a professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego.
She also worked tirelessly to interest young people, especially girls, in science, math and technology.
In 2001, she founded a company, Sally Ride Science, to "make science and engineering cool again" by providing science-oriented school programs, materials, and teacher training. Her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy, with whom she co-authored several books, is Professor Emerita of School Psychology at San Diego State University and serves as chief operating officer of Sally Ride Science.
Ride's sister Bear issued a statement regarding her public "outing" via her obituary, "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them."
President Obama has issued a statement describing Dr. Ride as "a national hero and a powerful role model. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools," he said. "Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve."
The video below profiles Sally Ride.