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.
On October 3, 2012, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) announced that it has resolved a claim on behalf of Ida Hammer, a transgender woman who had been denied health insurance coverage for sex reassignment surgery.
Hammer, a New York City resident, applied for pre-authorization for male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in July 2011. MVP Health Care denied her claim on the grounds that the surgery was "cosmetic" and therefore not covered under her policy. MVP denied two internal appeals, even after TLDEF submitted extensive evidence in support of Ms. Hammer's claim.
Only after TLDEF threatened to file a lawsuit did MVP reverse its position and agree to cover the doctor-recommended procedure. MVP acknowledged in its letter authorizing the surgery that "the requested surgery is medically necessary."
"I have been undergoing treatment for gender dysphoria for the past five years. My doctors determined that surgery is the only adequate treatment for my condition," Hammer said when the settlement was announced.
She added: "My insurance company should not be second-guessing my doctors. I'm relieved that it is finally treating me fairly and covering the health care I need."
TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman said, "The well-established medical and legal consensus is that transgender-related health care is medically necessary care. This surgery is not designed to improve one's appearance, but rather to treat a recognized medical condition. Transgender individuals pay the same premiums and simply want the same benefits as anyone else."
The medical necessity of sex reassignment surgery has been widely recognized in medicine and law. Organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recognize surgery as medically necessary and support insurance coverage for it.
TLDEF was founded in 2005 to achieve equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, community organizing, and public policy efforts. The New York-based organization works on issues ranging from employment discrimination to health care access, from educational discrimination to housing issues.
In the video below TLDEF attorney Noah Lewis discusses discrimination against transgender people.