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 October 6, 2012 at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, D.C., Chad Griffin presented the National Equality Award to NAACP President Ben Jealous, who was instrumental in moving his organization to support marriage equality.
Jealous, who became president of the legendary 103-year-old civil rights organization in 2008, led the NAACP to endorse marriage equality in May 2012. As David Edwards reported in The Raw Story on May 21, 2012, when Jealous spoke to reporters about the decision, he became emotional.
"Our calling as an organization is to defend the U.S. Constitution," Jealous told reporters in May. "We are here to speak to matters of civil law and matters of civil rights."
With his voice trembling Jealous said, "I'm a bit moved. My parents' own marriage was against the law at the time and they had to return here to Baltimore after getting married in Washington, D.C. And the procession back was mistaken for a funeral procession because it was so quixotic to people to see all these cars with these headlights on, having to go from one city all the way to the next just so they could have a party after they got married in their own home. This is an important day."
In presenting the award to Jealous on October 6, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin revealed that his very first meeting on the job was with Jealous.