Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.
Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.
San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
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.
Detail from an untitled work by Tom of Finland. © Tom of Finland® Foundation.
An exhibition of the art of Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991), a pioneer in twentieth-century gay male erotic art, will be presented by the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach from April 14 through July 31, 2012. The show, entitled "TOM OF FINLAND: Male Masterworks" will feature twenty paintings and drawings, some of which have never before been exhibited. The exhibition is scheduled to coincide with Pride season in Miami Beach.
Curator Volker Morlock will give a talk at the exhibition's opening, which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 7:00 pm until midnight at the museum. Morlock has arranged the works on display chronologically to allow visitors to see the progression of the artist's style and the evolution of his choices of subjects.
Untitled, 1972 (from "In the Park") © Tom of Finland® Foundation, 1972.
In addition to the art works on display, the exhibition will include a new video tribute to the artist as well as vintage memorabilia.
Untitled ("Sailor's Dream"), 1959. © Tom of Finland® Foundation, 1959.
Glbtq contributor Ken Gonzalez-Day calls Tom of Finland an iconic artist who "has created some of the most indelible (and erotic) images of twentieth-century gay life and has fueled the fantasies of generations of gay men." His work retains its relevance and erotic punch today.
Untitled (From the "The Tattooed Sailor" series), 1962. © Tom of Finland® Foundation, 1962.
The images of Tom of Finland's work here appear with the permission of the Tom of Finland Foundation. TOM OF FINLAND® is a registered trademark of Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc. and protected under international copyright law, Geneva Convention, 1982. Tom of Finland® Foundation, Inc., Los Angeles, California USA.
The Tom of Finland® Foundation owns the copyrights to these images. They may not be copied or reproduced without the Foundation's written permission.