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.
On February 27, 2013, the Legal Affairs committee of the Finnish Parliament rejected a marriage equality bill on a 9-8 tally, thereby blocking it from consideration by the legislature as a whole. In response, marriage advocates launched a civic petition to force Parliament to consider the bill. On March 19, 2013, the first day on which citizens could sign the petition, more than 50,000 signatures were obtained, the number required to compel consideration by Parliament.
As the Finnish website YLE reports, "A drive to gather the 50,000 signatories required to take a gender-neutral marriage bill to parliament reached its target in just one day. The accumulation of the required support means that lawmakers must now consider a bill which was previously blocked at the committee stage."
Enthusiasm for the petition was so great that the civic proposal website crashed as a result of the overwhelming demand.
The petition is sponsored by the "I Do 2013" campaign, which hopes to gather 250,000 signatures.
Polls show that a majority of Finns support marriage equality, as do many Members of Parliament from the governing National Coalition Party, the Greens Party, and the Social Democratic Party.
Members of the "I Do 2013" campaign are cautiously optimistic that when the full Parliament considers the marriage equality bill, it will pass.
Finland is the only Nordic country that does not offer equal marriage rights. It has traditionally lagged behind its neighbors in extending equal rights to its glbtq citizens.
For example, Finland was the last of the Nordic countries to adopt a registered partnership act. A proposal for registered partnership legislation was first introduced in Finland in 1993, but did not pass. Revised, but equally unsuccessful, versions of the bill were next introduced in 1996 and 1999. (In contrast, Denmark officially recognized same-sex civil unions in 1989, and Norway and Sweden followed suit in 1993.)
On September 28, 2001, following heated debate and vehement opposition by conservative Christian groups, the Finnish Parliament finally passed the 1999 version of the Registered Partnership Act with a few minor revisions. The act took effect on March 8, 2002 and affords same-sex couples most of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, though not the right to adopt children.
In 2009, however, legislation was approved that allows joint adoption of the biological children of same-sex partners. Moreover, although adoption is not a right of registered partnerships, the Finnish Act on Child Custody allows custody of a child to persons other than biological parents, and Finnish courts have routinely granted joint custody of a child to same-sex couples.