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.
Patricia Ewert (left) and Vernita Gray on NBC Chicago.
Illinois' marriage equality law, which was signed by Governor Quinn on November 20, 2013, will not go into effect until June 2014. However, on November 25, 2013, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin ordered Cook County, Illinois to issue a marriage license to a lesbian couple, Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert, one of whom suffers from a serious illness. The order came in response to an emergency request from Lambda Legal and the ACLU, who are pursuing a marriage equality lawsuit in Illinois. County Clerk David Orr said that he would comply with the order.
As Mary Ann Ahern reported for NBC Chicago, Vernita Gray, who suffers from bone and brain cancer, was delighted with the news. "I was stunned, and I'm still stunned," she said, "It's like Christmas, my birthday, the tooth fairy all rolled into one."
Gary and Ewert, who have been a couple for five years, plan to marry this week.
Although Illinois' law will permit same-sex couples to get marriage licenses as of June 1, 2014, Gray has been diagnosed as terminal and may not survive until June.
"Seven months means a lot to me at this point in my life," she said. "It really does. Seven days means a lot to me right now. Every day is a gift."
Lambda Legal's Camilla Taylor said, "These two women, who have loved and cared for each other in good times and bad, through sickness and through health, will get to know what it means to be married."
Orr confirmed that his office will expedite a marriage license for Gray and Taylor. He said his office routinely provides such a service to heterosexual couples in similar situations.
NBC Chicago reports on the expedited marriage license in the video below.