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social sciences

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New York City  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  

The New Century

In the early years of the twenty-first century, glbtq community and political institutions continue to carry out important work. There is a rich institutional infrastructure that continues to care for those with AIDS and to combat HIV. GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis), one of the largest such organizations in the country, is just one of the several dozen organizations dedicated to the prevention of AIDS.

The Lambda Legal Defense Fund may be best known for its fight for the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry and adopt children, but it also offers legal aid to glbtq people throughout the country in order to combat employment and housing discrimination.

Sponsor Message.

It is frequently said that New York is the least American of cities and that one must travel many miles west in order to understand the United States. There is no question that New York City is different; not only were more than one-third of the city's population born abroad, probably another third migrated from somewhere else in the United States. Moreover, as one of the largest cities in the world, it maintains a status that makes it unlike other cities in the country. Nor is it a static social entity: it constantly changes. These factors facilitate the growing diversity of glbtq lifestyles in the city, including sexual subcultures and ethnic niches that proliferate and interact at an astonishing rate.

Sexual activity (both homo and hetero) takes place everywhere, in private homes, in offices, in the back seats of taxis, in parks, in doorways, and even on subway platforms. There are many women and men in New York who engage in homosexual activity or adopt unconventional gender behavior who never identify in any way as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. New York City is home to these people as well.

Jeffrey Escoffier

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Activism

In the United States, glbtq people have played an integral and often leading role in AIDS activism, greatly influencing AIDS treatment and advocacy.

literature >> Overview:  AIDS Literature

In the twenty years since its first appearance in the West, AIDS has been the subject of a large body of literature, most of it written by gay men and much of it designed to expose readers as closely as possible to the emergency of the epidemic and the suffering of affected individuals.

social sciences >> Overview:  Anti-discrimination Statutes and Ordinances

Anti-discrimination statutes and ordinances have made a real difference in the lives of millions of glbtq individuals.

literature >> Overview:  Camp

Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.

social sciences >> Overview:  Cross-Dressing

Cross-dressers have often been misunderstood and maligned, especially in societies with rigid gender roles.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Partnerships

"Domestic partnership" is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of same-sex marriage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Elected Officials

In the United States, glbtq candidates have achieved some significant successes at the ballot box in the last three decades, running for and winning local, state, and national elections.

social sciences >> Overview:  Fire Island

Two of the communities of Fire Island, New York--Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines--are famous as hedonistic resort towns for gay men and lesbians.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

literature >> Overview:  The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important gay and lesbian writers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Los Angeles

The glbtq history of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second largest metropolis, is replete with cultural, social, and political firsts.

social sciences >> Overview:  Misogyny

Beliefs and actions described as misogyny range from intense hatred of women to a more subtle disdain that considers women as inferior beings who must be dominated by men.

social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> ACT UP

Using bold images and confrontational tactics, ACT UP worked to promote awareness of AIDS and challenge the complacency of politicians and government officials in the early years of the epidemic.

arts >> Ailey, Alvin

African-American dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey celebrated his heritage and translated his pain into art.

literature >> Albee, Edward

The American dramatist Edward Albee, whose career flourished in the 1960s and then waned as a result of homophobia, wrote plays with gay subtexts in which loving is the ultimate act of violence and violence is the most effective expression of love.

literature >> Ashbery, John

John Ashbery, one of the leading contemporary American poets, avoids explicit gay content in his poetry, but his work shares concerns with other late twentieth-century gay writing.

literature >> Auden, W. H.

One of the most accomplished poets of the twentieth century, W. H. Auden found that his gayness led him to new insights into the universal impulse to love and enlarged his understanding of all kinds of relationships.

arts >> Austen, Alice

One of the first American women to become a photographer, Alice Austen defied conventions and challenged stereotypes in nearly every aspect of her life.

literature >> Baldwin, James Arthur

James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.

literature >> Bannon, Ann

In a series of five interlinked pulp novels set in Greenwich Village and its homosexual bars in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Bannon provides an important record of lesbian life in a period when few women dared speak openly about homosexuality.

arts >> Bentley, Gladys

African-American Blues singer Gladys Bentley openly flaunted her lesbianism in the 1920s and 1930s, but recanted in the 1950s in an attempt to salvage her career.

arts >> Bernstein, Leonard

For most of his life, the specter of the closet lurked threateningly behind the glamorous and often brash public image of American composer Leonard Bernstein.

literature >> Bowles, Jane Auer

American novelist, playwright, and short story writer Jane Bowles spent her life examining lesbian identity with an honest and sardonic wit.

literature >> Bowles, Paul

Gay American expatriate composer, writer, and translator Paul Bowles liked to examine sexuality from a dispassionate perspective for its psychological suggestiveness.

literature >> Burroughs, William S.

Both in his life and his novels, American writer William S. Burroughs was an outlaw and a provocateur, focusing on sexual repression as the fundamental element of social control and writing in a surrealistic and bitterly satirical mode.

arts >> Cadmus, Paul

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.

arts >> Cage, John

The music of controversial American composer John Cage contains little autobiographical or gay content, but his ironic emphasis on the importance of silence in music may comment on the imposed silence of the closet.

literature >> Capote, Truman

Truman Capote's fiction and autobiographical works helped establish what might be called the quintessential homosexual writing style of the 1950s and 1960s.

arts >> Copland, Aaron

Despite his outsider status as a Jewish homosexual, Aaron Copland composed a significant number of musical works that embody the idea of American history, struggle, and courage.

literature >> Crane, Hart

A successor to Walt Whitman, Hart Crane found spiritual transcendence in homoerotic desire.

literature >> Cullen, Countee

Countee Cullen, an important member of the Harlem Renaissance, has coded references to homosexuality in much of his poetry.

literature >> Cunningham, Michael

The acclaimed novelist Michael Cunningham examines gay culture within the context of the larger society.

literature >> Delany, Samuel R.

Writer of science fiction, memoirs, erotica, cultural studies, and postmodern criticism, and winner of multiple Nebula, Hugo, and Lambda Literary Awards, Samuel R. Delany is widely regarded as one of the finest science fiction writers of his generation.

literature >> Eliot, T[homas] S[tearns]

Although Eliot tried to suppress the fact, The Waste Land is an elegy for a young Frenchman whom he met and loved in Paris and who died in the Great War in 1915.

social sciences >> Empire State Pride Agenda

The Empire State Pride Agenda, which lobbies New York governments at both state and local levels for equal rights, is recognized as among the strongest statewide glbtq political organizations in the United States.

literature >> Ford, Charles Henri (1910?-2002), and Parker Tyler (1904-1974)

Members of New York's early twentieth-century avant-garde, Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler are also the authors of a widely suppressed and largely unread experimental novel of 1930s gay life, The Young and Evil.

social sciences >> Gay Activists Alliance

An important organization of the early post-Stonewall era, the Gay Activists Alliance, which flourished from 1969 to 1974, strove to give gay men and lesbians visibility in American politics.

social sciences >> Gay Liberation Front

Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.

literature >> Ginsberg, Allen

The forthrightly gay Allen Ginsberg is probably the best-known American poet to emerge in the post-World War II period.

literature >> Goodman, Paul

The candor with which the bisexual Paul Goodman wrote about the homosexual libido in his poetry and fiction made him an important and highly visible advocate of gay liberation.

literature >> Hansberry, Lorraine

As a part of her fight for social justice, playwright and political activist Lorraine Hansberry supported the emerging American lesbian liberation movement.

literature >> Hughes, Langston

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.

arts >> Hunter, Alberta

Blues singer, lyricist, and actress Alberta Hunter, one of the top recording artists in the 1920s and 1930s, experienced a dramatic comeback in her old age.

literature >> Inge, William Motter

Although he was closeted and created few homosexual characters, playwright and novelist William Inge frequently acknowledged the existence of gay culture and desire in both his dramatic dialogue and prose.

arts >> Johns, Jasper

Known for his iconic yet cryptic paintings, acclaimed American artist Jasper Johns is a key figure in the transition from Modernism to Post-Modernism.

arts >> Johnson, Philip

A dominating force in American architecture, Philip C. Johnson had a chameleon-like career in which he often reinvented himself.

social sciences >> Judge, Father Mychal

Father Mychal Judge, who died in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, devoted his life to the care and service of others, including those marginalized by society.

arts >> Kirstein, Lincoln

Although best known for his contributions to the development of American ballet, Lincoln Kirstein was an important figure in the shaping of twentieth-century American culture generally.

arts >> Klein, Calvin

American designer Calvin Klein has created an extraordinarily successful fashion empire through his simple and elegant designs and his skilful employment of provocative advertising campaigns that are saturated with homoeroticism.

literature >> Kramer, Larry

Controversial playwright, novelist, and essayist Larry Kramer has been a pioneer in the gay political response to AIDS in America.

literature >> Kushner, Tony

In addition to being a prize-winning playwright, Tony Kushner has become a celebrity spokesman for gay politics and AIDS activism.

social sciences >> Lesbian Nation

Inspired by Jill Johnston's collection of essays of the same name, the term "lesbian nation" became a rallying cry for political lesbians of the 1970s.

literature >> Lorde, Audre

The work of African-American activist and writer Audre Lord was greatly influenced by her lesbianism.

social sciences >> Manford, Morty

A pioneer in the gay liberation movement, New York activist Morty Manford inspired his parents to help found the organization that became Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG).

literature >> McKay, Claude

Jamaican-born bisexual African-American poet, novelist, and essayist Claude McKay made compelling contributions to the development of the Harlem Renaissance; in his works, he put forward a revolutionary agenda of racial, class, and sexual liberation.

literature >> O'Hara, Frank

The influential poet Frank O'Hara wrote works informed by both modern art and the world of urban gay male culture.

arts >> Porter, Fairfield

Bisexual artist Fairfield Porter is recognized as a major twentieth-century American Intimist painter.

social sciences >> Quinn, Christine

Christine Quinn is the first woman, the first openly gay person, and the first Irish-American to serve as the Speaker of the New York City Council. 

arts >> Rainey, Gertrude ("Ma")

"Mother of the Blues" Gertrude "Ma" Rainey made no secret of her relationships with women.

arts >> Rauschenberg, Robert

One of the most prolific and innovative artists of the late twentieth century, Robert Rauschenberg was at the core of a group of interdisciplinary artists who revolutionized American art.

literature >> Schuyler, James

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Schuyler, a prominent member of the New York School of poets and painters, wrote openly about his homosexuality.

arts >> Smith, Bessie

Gifted with a powerful voice and sophisticated musical artistry, singer Bessie Smith conducted her life by her own set of rules and had affairs with both men and women.

arts >> Sondheim, Stephen

One of the most innovative talents of the musical theater in the second half of the twentieth century, Stephen Sondheim has only indirectly reflected his homosexuality in his work.

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

arts >> Taylor, Paul

Dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor has been an important presence in American dance since the 1950s.

arts >> Thomson, Virgil

Critic and composer Virgil Thomson was a pioneer in creating a specifically American form of classical music that is at once "serious" yet whimsically sardonic.

literature >> Van Vechten, Carl

The gay novelist, critic, and photographer Carl Van Vechten was especially interested in African-American culture and was an influential patron to many writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

literature >> Vidal, Gore

The multifaceted Gore Vidal is important in the gay literary heritage because of the straightforwardness with which he pursued gay themes and included gay characters in his work.

social sciences >> Wald, Lillian

Lillian Wald, an American public health nurse and social reformer, is the model of a Victorian-era lesbian active in the settlement house movement.

arts >> Warhol, Andy (as artist)

The avatar of Pop Art, Andy Warhol expressed desire in his images of celebrities and flouted traditional notions of masculinity by embracing extravagance, effeminacy, and an obsession with surface appearances.

arts >> Warhol, Andy (as filmmaker)

Although Andy Warhol is generally remembered either for a single film--Sleep (1963)--or for works that he did not actually direct, his contribution to gay cinema is incalculable.

arts >> Waters, Ethel

Perhaps best remembered for her award-winning performances as an actress, Ethel Waters was also a renowned Blues singer, known to have sexual relationships with other women.

literature >> Whitman, Walt

Celebrating an ideal of manly love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, Walt Whitman has exerted a profound and enduring influence on gay literature.

literature >> Wilder, Thornton

The works of Thornton Wilder are landmarks of American literature, but they reveal scant traces of the author's homosexuality.

literature >> Williams, Tennessee

Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.

social sciences >> Woman-Identified Woman

A cornerstone of lesbian activism in the 1970s, the concept of the woman-identified woman expressed the need for women to define themselves without reference to male-dominated societal structures.

arts >> Wong, Martin

American artist Martin Wong created innovative, transgressive paintings that celebrated his sexuality and explored multiple ethnic and racial identities.


    Bibliography
   

Chauncey, George. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books, 1994.

_____. "Gays." The Encyclopedia of New York City. Kenneth Jackson, ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New York Historical Society, 1995. 455-56.

Delany, Samuel. Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. New York: New York University Press, 1999.

Gilfoyle, Timothy J. City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920. New York: Norton, 1992.

_____. "From Soubrette Row to Show World: The Contested Sexualities of Times Square, 1880-1995." Policing Public Sex: Queer Politics and the Future of AIDS Activism. Dangerous Bedfellows, eds. Boston: South End Press, 1996. 263-94.

Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Rereading Sex: Battles over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Hudson, Lee, and Joan Nestle. "Lesbians." The Encyclopedia of New York City. Kenneth Jackson, ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New York Historical Society, 1995. 664-66.

Hurewitz, Daniel. Stepping Out: Nine Walks through New York City's Gay and Lesbian Past. New York: Holt, 1997.

Kaiser, Charles. The Gay Metropolis, 1940-1996. San Diego, Calif.: Harcourt, 1997.

Katz, Jonathan [Ned]. Gay American History. New York: Crowell, 1976.

Levine, Martin. Gay Macho: The Life and Death of the Homosexual Clone. New York: New York University Press, 1998.

Lorde, Audre. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. A Biomythography. Trumansburg, N. Y.: Crossing Press, 1982.

Maddex, Alison. Sex in the City: An Illustrated History. New York: Universe, 2002.

McGarry, Molly, and Fred Wassserman. Becoming Visible: An Illustrated History of Lesbian and Gay Life in Twentieth-Century America. New York: New York Public Library/Penguin, 1998.

Museum of Sex. NYC Sex: How New York City Transformed Sex in America. New York: Scala Publishers, 2002.

New York City Department of Health, Office of Gay and Lesbian Health. Report on the Health Status of Gay Men and Lesbians in New York City. New York: City of New York, 1999.

Turner, Mark W. Backward Glances: Cruising the Queer Streets of New York and London. London: Reaktion Books, 2003.

Walloch, Leonard, ed. New York: Culture Capital of the World, 1940-1965. New York: Rizzoli, 1988.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Escoffier, Jeffrey  
    Entry Title: New York City  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 12, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/new_york_city.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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