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.
peers by Steve Locke. © Steve Locke, courtesy Platform Gallery and Steve Locke.
The Platform Gallery in Seattle's current exhibition entitled "One more kiss and we're history" includes work by five leading glbtq artists, Cobi Moules, Kelli Connell, Molly Landreth, Steve Locke, and Steven Frost. The range of sexual orientations, gender identities, and artistic styles makes the exhibition an exceptionally interesting survey of contemporary glbtq visual culture.
Cobi Moules' work explores his transition from female to male. His self portraits navigate his complex individual experience through the subtle re-imagining of his physicality and the creation of fantasy worlds. His work reveals both his fears and his excitement about the possibilities his transition created.
Untitled (bath) by Cobi Moules (2009). © Cobi Moules, courtesy Platform Gallery and Cobi Moules.
Artist Kelli Connell creates images that appear to be photographic portraits of female couples, but does so with a twist. In fact, Connell digitally combines separate photographs of the same model to create her "couples."
The Valley by Kelli Connell. © Kelli Connell, courtesy Platform Gallery and Kelli Connell.
Connell says that "For the most part, I'm not actually thinking so much about representing two females in a relationship. I'm more so thinking about the multiple sides of the self in the overall human experience."
The images the show features by figurative artist Steve Locke are deliberately vague and invite viewer interpretation. Each painting features two men relating to each other in an ambiguous way. The paintings can be understood as gay, but Locke sees them as depicting the way males relate to each other in general. As he puts it, "It's just a male thing."
cleanse by Steve Locke. © Steve Locke, courtesy Platform Gallery and Steve Locke.
Documentary photographs by Molly Landreth, who has spent more than five years traveling around the United States photographing gay and transgendered people for her on-going project, Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America and mixed media works by Steven Frost, who is fascinated by the spectacle and the often extreme masculinity exhibited in professional wrestling, complete the show and add to the exhibition's diversity.
For more images and information about the exhibition and the artists, visit Platform Gallery's website.