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.
As the hate-fest known as the Republican National Convention concludes, it is well to remember that the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week will have a record number of glbtq delegates and alternates. The Democratic Convention is also expected to adopt a platform that endorses marriage equality.
The National Stonewall Democrats (NSD), which identifies itself as the national voice of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied Democrats, with more than 80 local affiliates across the nation, announced via press release that it has identified at least 534 official glbtq participants in the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This record number represents a marked increase in glbtq participation from four years ago where just over 350 participants were identified.
"What an amazing and inspiring convention this will be," said Jerame Davis, Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats. "With over 530 LGBT participants identified for this year's convention, we not only set a new record for LGBT participation in a national convention, we have sent the clearest message possible that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion."
"Dedicated activists," continued Davis, "including those at the DNC and National Stonewall Democrats, made this historic moment possible by doggedly insisting that LGBT people have a seat at the table and by demonstrating the strength our community can bring to party politics. We didn't sit around wishing for a better Party, we made the Party better for LGBT people."
Pride in the Party, National Stonewall Democrats' program to increase LGBT participation at conventions and within the various state and national Democratic Party organizations, was launched in 2007 with director Rick Boylan at the helm.
Boylan said, "The Obama campaign understands that the LGBT community is a key constituency in the 2012 election. Their support for the community and the issues important to LGBT Americans will help reelect the president and elect Democrats down the ballot in all states."
"By ensuring an open and inclusive delegate selection process, state Democratic Party organizations are witnessing an increase in LGBT involvement in Democratic campaigns, as well as Democratic organizing and fundraising activities," he added. "As the Party has expanded its outreach to the LGBT community, the community has expanded its involvement in the Party. We are seeing better working relationships with elected officials and more interest in pro-equality legislation at all levels of government."
For the first time, there will be at least one glbtq delegate from each state. Three states, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alaska, are sending glbtq delegates to the national convention for the first time. The largest glbtq delegation will be from California, which is sending 76 participants.
The National Stonewall Democrats was founded in 1998 by Congressman Barney Frank and other activists from around the country. Since the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, the organization has advocated, supported, and organized increased glbtq inclusion in the state delegations sent to national conventions.
The video below, narrated by Jane Lynch, reviews President Obama's long list of accomplishments on behalf of the glbtq community, from expanding health hospital visitation rights and participating in the It Gets Better Project to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and becoming the first sitting president in American history to embrace marriage equality.