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.
Fresh from a bitter election battle against anti-gay Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, victorious Democrat Terry McAuliffe said in a press conference on November 6, 2013 that his very first action as governor of Virginia will be to issue an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in state employment.
McAuliffe's commitment to fair and equal treatment for glbtq employees stands in sharp contrast to the actions of his predecessor Bob McDonnell and to Cuccinelli.
The very first action that McDonnell took as governor was to rescind the executive order that had been issued by former governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Following in the footsteps of Bobby Jindahl, whose first action upon assuming the governorship of Louisiana was rescinding the nondiscrimination order of his predecessor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, McDonnell signaled his allegiance to the evangelical wing of the Republican Party.
[Tellingly, at his news conference Governor-elect McAuliffe also said that his second executive order would limit the value of any gifts to himself or immediate family to $100, a reaction to the corruption scandal that has consumed McDonnell, whose family received more than $160,000 in "gifts" from a businessman seeking goverment contracts and grants.]
Cuccinelli became most famous for his attempt to reinstate Virginia's sodomy law despite its having been held unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 2003, but before he embarked on that fool's errand, he crusaded against nondiscrimination statutes and policies that covered sexual orientation and gender identity. Cuccinelli's efforts to roll back protections for glbtq people in Virginia's public universities were rebuffed, but he was successful in preventing municipalities from enacting protections against discrimination.
At his news conference, McAuliffe said, "I will make sure that every single individual in the Commonwealth of Virginia is treated fair and equal."
Marty Rouse, Human Rights Campaign's National Field Director, said, "In his first day as Governor-elect, Terry McAuliffe has declared a new day for LGBT equality in the Commonwealth of Virginia."
He added, "Inclusion and equality won in yesterday's election, while the politics of hate and discrimination were soundly defeated. We look forward to working with the governor-elect on moving Virginia forward."
The electoral rebuke of Cuccinelli is tangible proof that change is going to come.