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.
On March 26, 2013, renowned litigator Theodore Olson, in his sixtieth appearance before the Supreme Court of the United States, will argue that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The Prop 8 case, he remarked recently, has been transformative for him: "it has changed my life a lot."
In a revealing profile in the Los Angeles Times by Timothy Phelps, Olson discusses how he has been changed by the case.
Phelps writes of Olson, "He speaks with passion, and sometimes a tear, about the gay men and women, including Republicans, who reach out to thank him."
"Oh, there's some people who are not very happy about it," he said. But the case "has changed my life a lot because I think this is so enormously important to so many people. When I talk about it I get very emotional. . . . I found out that some people I never guessed were gay. Lawyers came up to me and disclosed that about themselves."
The profile also credits Olson's second wife, Lady Booth Olson, with influencing Olson. She says that what changed her husband was the case itself. He did not change to handle the case, she explained, rather, the case changed him.
"When you look discrimination in the face--these people who got up and testified for hours about what it's like to be denied the right to marry--it's transformative, really," she said. "I think he's starting to open his mind and heart a little bit more than he used to."
As recounted in our glbtq.com entry on Chad Griffin, Olson was recruited to lead a challenge to Proposition 8 by Griffin and his friends Rob and Michele Reiner after its passage in November 2008.
After the devastating loss at the polls, the Reiners and Griffin decided to try a different approach: to go to federal court and argue that marriage is a fundamental right and that denying it to same-sex couples violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.
To her surprise, Michele Reiner learned from a friend that Olson, a Republican who had represented George W. Bush in the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 Presidential election, Bush v. Gore, was a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Fearful that gay groups might be suspicious of him because he had been the personal attorney of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush's Solicitor General, Olson suggested bringing in Democratic attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore.
To support the lawsuit Griffin and the Reiners launched the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and the journey toward the Supreme Court began.
In the video below, from February 2012, Olson talks with Rachel Maddow about the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.