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.
A documentary entitled Jerry Smith: A Football Life, produced by Paul Monusky, airs on the NFL Network on January 21, 2014. Smith, who died of AIDS on October 15, 1986, was a genuine NFL superstar. Because of the frankness with which it explores Smith's closeted homosexuality, the documentary promises to be what Monusky describes as a "groundbreaker."
Smith, a tight end who played for the Washington Redskins from 1965 to 1977, retired with an NFL record of 60 receiving touchdowns, a record that stood for 26 years. He also played in two Pro Bowls, was named to an All-Pro team, and played in a Super Bowl.
Although the first NFL player to come out, David Kopay, has spoken of his brief affair with Smith, the tight end's sexuality is still not widely known beyond glbtq sports fans. As David Mixner has observed, "It was the worst-kept secret in the gay community and the best-kept secret in the straight community."
The documentary reportedly confronts head-on the difficulties Smith faced living a closeted life and the costs he feared he would have had to pay had he come out.
The documentary will feature interviews with Kopay and Mixner among many others, including Smith's younger brother and 11 former NFL players.
The documentary airs at 9:00 EST on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, and will be repeated throughout the week on the NFL channel.
Following the documentary will be a thirty-minute program entitled A Football Life: Back Story, which will discuss the documentary and explore Smith's life further. Mixner will also participate in that show, along with Smith's former teammates Brigg Owens and Calvin Hill.
A trailer for the documentary may be found here.