Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.
Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.
San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
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.
Barbara Gittings (left) with partner Kay Lahusen.
On October 1, 2012, Philadelphia marked the beginning of LGBT History Month by dedicating a city center block in honor of Barbara Gittings, the late glbtq activist who resided in the city for thirty years.
As Mike Dunne reports in CBS Philly, a community choir heralded the dedication of the block of Locust Street in Philadelphia's "gayborhood" between 12th and 13th Streets as "Barbara Gittings Way."
Gittings (1932-2007), sometimes known as the "Mother of the LGBT Rights Movement," was instrumental in having homosexuality removed from the American Psychiatric Association's list of mental disorders; founded the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and edited its magazine, The Ladder; and worked tirelessly within the American Library Association to make materials with glbtq content more accessible to the reading public.
Gittings, along with Frank Kameny, helped steer the American homophile movement toward greater militancy, including the embrace of direct action tactics. She and Kameny organized and participated in early gay rights demonstrations, picketing the White House in 1965 to protest federal employment discrimination and also participating in annual demonstrations on July 4 at Philadelphia's Independence Hall.
The renaming of the block of Locust Street "Barbara Gittings Way" was spearheaded by Malcolm Lazin of Philadelphia's Equality Forum.
"She really stepped forward in 1965, at a moment in time when almost no one was out." Lazin told Dunne. "It was really a remarkably courageous thing that she did. She, like a Rosa Parks, helped to launch a civil rights movement."
As Jen Colletta reported in the Philadelphia Gay News in June, the proposal to name the block Barbara Gittings Way sailed through the Philadelphia City Council when it was proposed by the Equality Forum and sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla.
"Washington, D.C., has a Frank Kameny Way and San Francisco has a Harvey Milk Plaza, so we thought it was important we in Philadelphia honor Barbara, who we view as the mother of the LGBT civil-rights movement," Lazin told the PGN.
Councilman Squilla was enthiastic about designating the particular block in Gittings' honor. "What better place than right in the Gayborhood? That block of Locust is right in the middle of the Gayborhood and a location that people can really relate to. I thought it seemed like a good fit."
Gittings' longtime partner Kay Lahusen also welcomed the initiative.
"I know Barbara would have been thrilled by this turn of events had she lived to see it," she said. "I'm very grateful to Equality Forum for initiating this idea and especially am happy that this block is in the very heart of the Gayborhood."
In the video below, from the Equality Forum documentary "Our Pioneers," Gittings speaks of her early activism.