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.
As the debate on marriage equality heats up across the world, a number of new videos have been released. Video activism is by no means new, but in the age of YouTube gay videographers have seized upon the medium as a means of reaching a large audience with a simple and heartfelt message about the joy of commitment, one that is made poignant and urgent through drama, image, and music.
Perhaps the gold standard of marriage equality videos is the Australian release entitled "It's Time." Telling a straightforward but richly detailed story about the universality of emotions, the video, produced by GetUp, an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organization that has adopted marriage equality as a cause, immediately went viral upon its release in November 2011.
A recent video produced for the Italian gay rights groups Arcigay, Agedo, and Bologna Pride also tells a simple story that equates homosexual and heterosexual love.
Eliot London's film "The Wedding Dance" tells the same simple story, but from a slightly different perspective.
The socially conscious band Bye June (Gil Kline, Gunner Sledgeski, and Daniel McGreal) recently collaborated with shadowgrapher Sati Achath to create a video based on their song "Shades of Purple" from their recent cd My Life Is an Independent Film. The band has dedicated the video to the cause of marriage equality, particularly in Maryland, where a bill legalizing same-sex marriage is currently before the state legislature.
Bye June has established a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/swanpride. The page is open to comments from 'swans' who have joined the movement; it contains many touching stories shared by young people.
More lighthearted is this delightful video posted by a Connecticut couple who made the video to be played before their wedding reception in late 2011. Although studiedly avoiding the political, the video beautifully captures the mundanity of gay domestic life, as well as the pleasing personalities of the two men.
Finally, the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to fighting homophobia and racism and to empowering black glbtq people, has released excerpts from a documentary, Black Love: The Quest for Marriage Equality. Although more overtly political than the other videos, the film, by following four gay and lesbian couples on their quest to marry, demonstrates in very personal ways how a commitment to love impacts people's lives regardless of sexual orientation.