Although gay, lesbian, and queer theory are related practices, the three terms delineate separate emphases marked by different assumptions about the relationship between gender and sexuality.
The Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important gay and lesbian writers.
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.
Erotic and pornographic works have been written in many cultures since ancient times and recently have flourished with the relaxation of censorship.
Feminist literary theory is a complex, dynamic area of study that draws from a wide range of critical theories.
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta have released videos recognizing June as Pride Month. These senior members of the Obama Administration both celebrate the progress that has been made in securing equal rights and acknowledge that more work remains to be done.
In the video below, Secretary Clinton affirms her belief that gay rights are human rights, pledges that the United States will continue to work on behalf of glbtq rights around the world, and conveys her best wishes for a happy pride celebration.
In the following video, Secretary Panetta thanks gay and lesbian servicemembers for their dedicated service, extols the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and pledges to continue work to achieve equal rights within the United States military.
The historic nature of Secretary Panetta's video is underlined by the fact that a year ago a servicemember could have been discharged for even acknowledging his homosexuality. The Secretary of Defense's celebration of gay pride and pledge to work toward full equality mark a profound change in the culture of American military life.
Josh Seefried of OutServe characterized Secretary Panetta's historic video as "a tribute to our core military values: respect and integrity. If there is any remaining doubt that the military has executed DADT repeal with excellence, and that LGBT people are serving our country with honor, Secretary Panetta has firmly put that to rest. This is leadership directly from the top."
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said that the video "sends a powerful message to the brave men and women of the military that they are valued for their dedication to our country and their expertise, and that they are deserving of the exact same respect and equal treatment that their straight counterparts receive. By embracing Pride month, Secretary Panetta also is telling LGBT youth in communities across our nation that they live in a country that values them for exactly who they are. We hope this is a sign that the Department of Defense will continue tackling the obstacles that prevent lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from receiving full equality."