The accomplishments of nineteenth-century lesbian American artists, some of whom are only now receiving recognition, are all the more remarkable for the obstacles they faced as homosexuals and as women working in a male-dominated field.
Nineteenth-century gay male American artists often suffered from guilt, but artists such as Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins celebrated male camaraderie and affection, while expatriate John Singer Sargent depicted the dandy. Some American artists, including Eakins, used the relatively new medium of photography to celebrate the beauty of the male nude as well as male friendships.
The documentary film 8: The Mormon Proposition (2010) indicts the Mormon Church as the puppet master that orchestrated, funded, and deliberately concealed its role in what appeared to be a successful grassroots Evangelical and Roman Catholic campaign for Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that ended same-sex marriage in California when it passed on November 4, 2008. The film cites evidence that shows that the Mormons have honed a deceptive, but winning strategy they continue to use against same-sex marriage today.
Joan E. Biren (JEB)'s No Secret Anymore: The Life and Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (2003) adoringly chronicles the lives and activist careers of Del Martin (1921-2008) and Phyllis Lyon (b. 1924), one of the most influential and iconic lesbian couples of the twentieth century. Though it is skimpy on the details of some of the controversies surrounding its subjects' activism, this well-made documentary is a fitting tribute to the career of a couple whose lives and activism are unparalleled in the history of the movement for lesbian and gay civil rights.
Marlon Riggs' classic film Tongues Untied (1989) combines performance, poetry, dance, music, documentary film clips, and even voguing to create a video mashup that expresses the fears, frustrations, rage, and hope experienced by African-American gay men during a unique and pivotal period in African-American gay history. According to reviewer Wik Wikholm, the film succeeds as both an energetic piece of video performance art and as a hopeful manifesto.
Transgender people who need hormones or other treatments associated with their gender identities must ordinarily be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) before doctors will provide appropriate care. Diagnosing Difference (2010) presents the problems transgender people experience with the stigma of GID, the impact it has on their lives, and a variety of opinions about what should be done to address it. The exceptionally engaging and well-made video is an excellent introduction to the medical challenges facing the transgender community.
Subjects from androgyny to bicycles, dildoes, Hercules, and vampires have revealed much about sexual and gender identities throughout history. The 22 articles listed in this spotlight describe the enormous and sometimes surprising variety of ways in which specific artistic subjects have been significant for people with variant sexual and gender identities.
Anger Me (2006) is a biographical film about influential gay underground filmmaker and independent film distribution pioneer Kenneth Anger (b. 1927). The film consists largely of a long interview with the auteur in which he says he finds his muse in the occult, especially the work of bisexual mystic Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Though its talking-head format and Anger's reticence about his private life limit the video's audience appeal, Anger Me is a useful introduction to Anger's work.
In this review-essay on Obama and the Gays by Tracy Baim, glbtq General Editor Claude J. Summers retraces the history of the Obama administration's relationship with the glbtq community through November 2010. During his campaign, President Obama made many promises to glbtq voters, but few have been kept.