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.
A promotional image for "Barbara Hammer: The Fearless Frame."
In February 2012, London's Tate Modern presents a major survey of the films of Barbara Hammer. "Barbara Hammer: The Fearless Frame" will include screenings of early, rarely seen Super-8 films, an evening of free expanded cinema performances in the Turbine Hall, an event in response to Hammer's work by artist Emily Roysdon, and several events featuring artists and speakers drawn from across Europe and North America, who testify to the powerful creative community Hammer has inspired.
The survey will be launched with a premiere of Hammer's new short film, Maya Deren's Sink (2011), a tribute to Deren's longstanding influence on the artist.
"Barbara Hammer: The Fearless Frame" opens on February 3, 2012 and concludes on February 26.
Hammer, who was born in Hollywood, California, in 1939, is the most prolific lesbian feminist filmmaker in the history of cinema.
She created her first film in 1967, Schizy, about her own coming-out process. She is best known for her experimental, nonlinear narratives, which are often lyrical and erotic.
As Gary Morris has noted in his glbtq.com entry on her, Hammer "can be said to have constructed, in what she has called her 'alternative autobiographies,' an alternative lesbian gaze."
Her most famous work is probably Nitrate Kisses (1992), which may be seen as an attempt to restore a lost queer history by intermingling images of lesbian and gay male lovemaking with aural and visual collages of concentration camps, the Hollywood Hays Code that banned "perversion," and snippets from what is often regarded as the first queer film made in the United States, Lot in Sodom (1933) by James Watson and Melville Weber.
Here is a brief clip from Nitrate Kisses.
Hammer's films are of crucial importance to a new generation of artists exploring new modes of experimenting with the moving image.