The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
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.
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
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.
The coat of arms of the Russian Republic.
Russian activists report an upsurge in homophobic violence following the new laws prohibiting "homosexual propaganda." The new laws ostensibly ban the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" among minors, but their effect has been to license homophobic vigilantism. Moreover, the government has recently encouraged the reporting to the police of neighbors who are believed to be glbtq. Clearly, a pogrom is underway in Russia.
Alec Luhn reports in The Guardian that "the legislation has emboldened rightwing groups who use social media to 'ambush' gay people, luring them to meetings and then humiliating them on camera--sometimes pouring urine on them. These groups often act against gay teenagers, several of whom told the Guardian that rising homophobia and vigilante activity force them to lead lives of secrecy."
Igor Kochetkov, head of the Russian LGBT network, said the new laws "have essentially legalised violence against LGBT people, because these groups of hooligans justify their actions with these laws. With this legislation, the government said that, yes, gays and lesbians are not valued as a social group."
"It is an action to terrorise the entire LGBT community," he added.
Kochetkov said most homophobic violence was not reported to the police, but a recent study by his organisation found that of 20 attacks that had been reported recently, four were investigated and only one resulted in a court case.
In a series of interviews with young homosexuals, the Guardian found that because of widespread fear their relationships are nearly always clandestine and abuse is commonplace. In addition to vigilante violence, they fear negative reactions from family and friends. In the Russian provinces, homosexuality is the love that dare not even whisper its name.
Recently a legislator in the Siberian region of Zabaikalsk called for a law allowing gays to be publicly flogged by Cossacks.
As Michelle Garcia reports in The Advocate, Russian police have also recently begun targeting gay activists. Using the new legislation, the government has encouraged people to report their glbtq neighbors to local authorities.
A notice issued by the government says any person who suspects that a neighbor or tenant disseminates "homosexual propaganda" should contact the police immediately.
"Increase your vigilance when you talk to your neighbors, when you are checking your mail and in elevators," the notice says, according to a translation. "You can easily become a target of homosexual propaganda. There is one step from being homosexual and to start propaganda of homosexualism and molesting decent people."
Russian prosecutors reportedly raided the home of activist and lawyer Nikolai Alexeyev. According to Reuters, officials ransacked Alexeyev's home and removed several pieces of electronic equipment.
The raid was spurred by a Russian parliament member who lodged a complaint against Alexeyev.
There can be no question that we are now witnessing the beginning of Russia's new pogrom against glbtq people.
It is sobering to note that the very wordpogrom, a violent massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group, is a Yiddish term derived from a Russian word to describe Russian attacks on Jews. In contemporary Russia, where there are few Jews remaining, the glbtq minority has become the convenient scapegoat for the country's insecurities and failures.
The Olympic Games must be moved from Sochi.
In the video below, Harvery Fierstein appears on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show The Last Word to explain the rising level of homophobia in Russia.