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.
Ricky Martin at the fifty-third annual Grammy Awards. Image courtesy rickymartin.com.
It was announced on November 4, 2011 that Spanish government ministers have agreed to extend Spanish citizenship to singer Ricky Martin. A government spokesman revealed that Martin has been granted a "letter of naturalization" issued under special circumstances because of his "personal and professional associations with Spain." Speculation is that Martin sought Spanish citizenship so that he and partner Carlos Gonzalez can wed in Spain, which in 2005 became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
After years of ducking questions about his sexual orientation, Martin came out publicly in 2010 via a Twitter announcement: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man."
He attributed his decision to come out to the fact that he was working on a memoir and felt the need to be candid because "to keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with," alluding to the twin boys--Matteo and Valentino--he fathered via surrogacy in 2008.
Speculation is that Martin and Gonzalez, who have been together for four years and who are jointly rearing the twins, want to marry in Spain in order to secure the greater legal protections afforded non-traditional families in countries that recognize same-sex marriage.
In the six years since Spain legalized same-sex marriage, more than 20,000 gay and lesbian couples have wed there.
In a VH-1 "Behind the Music" special in August 2011, Martin discussed both his relationship with Gonzalez and his commitment to the struggle for equal rights. He described Gonzalez as follows: "My boyfriend is very sexy, very smart, very compassionate. But most importantly, he loves my children. . . . It is very beautiful. Super cool. I'm very happy."