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.
Rev. Charles Worley preaching that gays and lesbians should be incarcerated in concentration camps.
Recent disgusting displays of naked Christian hatred directed toward gay people give lie to the frequent claim that Christians hate the sin of homosexuality, but love the sinners. They also give lie to the notion that the Westboro Baptist Church is the lunatic fringe of Christianity, utterly isolated and completely unrepresentative of the mainstream. These recent displays of ugliness reveal not only the hatefulness of some Christians, including their eager flirtation with genocide, but they also reveal that such expressions of hatred are not uncommon.
Some of these displays of hatred emerged during the recent campaign for North Carolina's Amendment One, which wrote a ban on same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships into the state's constitution.
For example, Ron Baity, pastor of Winston-Salem's Berean Baptist Church ranted about homosexuality as "a perverted lifestyle" in a Sunday sermon and told his congregation that homosexuals should be prosecuted. "For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle," he said. He did not specify the sentences he would impose on gay and lesbian criminals, but he no doubt had in mind the capital punishment prescribed in Leviticus on which many of the laws against homosexual acts were based.
In the course of a sermon in support of Amendment One, Sean Harris, senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, urged his congregation to beat their children if they exhibited gender-nonconforming behavior.
Harris told his congregation, "So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed."
"Dads," Harris continued, "the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch."
When this stupid and dangerous man's words were released to the public, Harris claimed that he was joking.
However far-fetched the pretense that he was being humorous, at least that excuse evinces awareness of the inappropriateness of telling his congregation to beat up their gay children. That is more than can be said of another repulsive Baptist preacher, Pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church near Maiden, North Carolina.
On May 13, 2012, Worley told his congregation "I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers but I couldn't get it passed in the Congress--build a great big large fence, 50 or a hundred mile long. Put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can't get out. And you know what? In a few years they will die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."
When there was an outrage against his plan for a concentration camp in which to imprison gay men and lesbians, he doubled down on his hatred. His intellectually challenged congregation gave him a standing ovation.
But this kind of rhetoric is by no means limited to North Carolina. Jeremy Hooper at his blog Good As You calls attention to two Baptist preachers, one from Maryland and one from Kansas, who have recently expressed a naked desire to kill gay men and lesbians.
The Maryland preacher, Pastor Dennis Leatherman of Mountain Lake Baptist Church in Oakland, Maryland, realizes that he cannot actually kill gay people. But he certainly would like to be able to do so.
In a sermon entitled "Homosexuality and the Bible," Leatherman said, "Sinful nature does not justify sinful behavior." Then he asked, "Now what is our take? What is our response? I appreciate your bearing with me tonight. First of all, there is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right?"
Then he confided, "I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea," before saying that it would be wrong to act on the desire he finds so delicious.
Curtis Knapp, Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, has no such compunctions about genocide. He believes the government should kill homosexuals.
The murderous-minded minister told his congregation that homosexuals "should be put to death--that's what happened in Israel. That's why homosexuality wouldn't have grown in Israel," he claimed. Then continued, "Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them? No, I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should."
He asked his congregation, "Is it His word or not? If it's His word, he commanded it. It's His idea, not mine. And I'm not ashamed of it. He said put them to death."
Knapp concluded by asking, "Shall the church drag them in? No, I'm not saying that. The church has not been given the power of the sort; the government has. But the government ought to [kill them]. You got a better idea? A better idea than God?"
In one of the most blatant examples of religious child abuse on tape, the creepy Pastor Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle of Greensburg, Indiana taught a four-year-old toddler to sing the song "Ain't No Homos Gonna Make It To Heaven" to the delight of his congregation.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Greensburg, Indiana was the home of teenager Billy Lucas, who committed suicide in 2010 after incessant anti-gay bullying. News of his death inspired Dan Savage to launch his "It Gets Better" project.
Upon learning about the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle's exploitation of the four-year-old, Savage connected the dots.
"The Apostolic Truth Tabernacle is in Greensburg, Indiana. That's the town where Billy Lucas was bullied to death for being perceived to be gay by his classmates. I wonder if they stood up and cheered at Apostolic Truth Tabernacle when Lucas died--hey, another homo in hell. I wonder if any of Lucas's tormenters attend services at Apostolic Truth Tabernacle," Savage asked. He added, "And what if that precocious little four-year-old singer is gay?"
Although the Southern Baptist Convention has issued a statement attempting to distance itself from the harsh anti-gay rhetoric employed by some of the pastors highlighted here, it is hard to take their statement seriously.
Their concern is less about justice and love than it is about favorable public relations. They are keenly aware that, with good reason, they are widely regarded as the most intolerant of mainstream denominations. Their theological position is no different from that of the bigots who spout naked hate. They simply want to appear more respectable.
The next time a Christian complains of having been unfairly called a bigot or hater, please remind him or her of the rants highlighted here.
Of course, not all Christians are bigots or haters: indeed many are very supportive of glbtq people and actually practice the Christian injunction to love their neighbors. But enough of them not only hate gay people but would literally be happy to see us killed that it is perfectly reasonable to be wary of them.
In the clip below, the repulsive Sean Harris tells his congregation to punch their gay children.
Below is an excerpt from the repugnant Charles Worley's concentration camp sermon.
In the following video, the ignorant child abusers who comprise the congregation at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle cheer a four-year-old singing "Ain't No Homos Gonna Make It To Heaven."
In the audiofile below, genocidal preacher Curtis Knapp calls for the government to kill gay people.