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.
Ambassador Baer (right) with partner Brian Walsh.
On June 11, 2013, we congratulated Daniel Baer on his nomination by President Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Today we congratulate him not only on having been confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as Ambassador, but also for issuing a video about his new job that features prominently his partner and their greyhound.
Prior to his nomination for the Ambassadorship, Baer had worked on international glbtq issues as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the Department of State. A graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University, he previously taught at Georgetown University and was a faculty fellow in the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
Although not well-known to the general public, the OSCE is the world's largest international governmental organization with 57 participating countries focused on security issues, including crisis management and conflict prevention.
Baer was confirmed by the Senate in August on a voice vote.
On September 10, 2013, he was sworn in by acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Uzra Zeye in a ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin room of the State Department building. Baer was accompanied by his partner Brian Walsh, as well as other members of his family. The two men will take up residence in Vienna, where OSCE is headquartered.
As Chris Johnson reported in the Washington Blade, the swearing-in ceremony was an emotional event.
Baer not only spoke about his experience working to advance human rights around the world, about how fortunate he feels to be an American, and about the importance of the OSCE, but also about his experience as a gay man.
He choked up as he recalled wondering as a high school student whether he would be able to achieve his career ambitions because of his sexual orientation.
"I remember a very sad and lonely junior and high school student in 1994 who wondered whether it was possible for him ever to be happy, and wondered whether it was worth going on," Baer said. "Certainly, he would have been shocked to see today's ceremony."
On September 12, the State Department released a YouTube video in which Baer introduces himself, shares some highlights of his career, and explains the importance of OSCE. The video is remarkable for the matter-of-fact and natural way in which Baer includes his partner Brian Walsh and their greyhound Cleo.