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.
Actor, producer, and screenwriter Wentworth Miller came out publicly in August 2013, when he posted a letter on the GLAAD website in which he declined an invitation to attend the Saint Petersburg International Film Festival because he felt "deeply troubled" by the Russian government's treatment of its gay citizens. In the letter, he identified himself as a gay man. On September 7, 2013, Miller delivered a moving and notably thoughtful address to a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Seattle in which he talked about community and coming out and how he finally reached the conclusion that "I am me" is insufficient.
Miller, who is of a multi-ethnic background, has spoken previously of his difficulty in achieving community. He was born in England to American parents and has lived in numerous countries. He once observed that "My father is black and my mother is white. Therefore, I could answer to either, which kind of makes me a racial Lone Ranger, at times, caught between two communities." In his HRC speech, he elaborates on the difficulty he has had in identifying with the gay community as well.
Miller has earned kudos as an actor in a number of roles, but is best known for his performance as Michael Scofield in Fox Network's television drama Prison Break. More recently, he has concentrated on writing scripts, several of which have been produced.
In Miller's HRC speech, he reveals his suicide attempts as a teenager and explains why he had such a difficult time coming out. The speech is both eloquent and moving.