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Transvestism
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African Art: Traditional
Many forms of ambiguous sexuality can be found throughout the traditional arts of Africa, including images of androgyny, hermaphroditism, and transvestism; and much of erotic sculpture and theater can also be seen as homoerotic.
Ashley, April
Outed as a transsexual in 1961, the indomitable April Ashley rose from poverty to become a glamorous entertainer and top model who married into the British aristocracy and later became a transgender activist.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Combining dance, cross-dressing, and comedy, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo both parodies and celebrates classical ballet.
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.
Beyer, Georgina
As the first open transgender person in New Zealand to be elected to the offices of mayor and Member of Parliament, Georgina Beyer has evinced courage, humor, and personal honesty.
Bourbon, Ray
Legendary drag performer and recording artist Ray Bourbon appeared in silent movies, vaudeville acts, Broadway plays, and, from the 1940s through the 1960s, performed across the United States in a gay nightclub circuit.
Boy George (George O'Dowd)
A pop icon with a rich soulful voice, Boy George, who fronted the band Culture Club in the 1980s, managed to survive homophobia, drug addiction, and fame.
Cabarets and Revues
Historically, cabarets and revues have been much more likely to mention or imply same-sex desire than the "legitimate" theater; and same-sex desire has been less frequently condemned in cabarets and revues than in mainstream plays.
Carstairs, Marion Barbara "Joe"
Marion Joe Carstairs, a colorful gender-bending figure of the twentieth century, first gained fame as a speedboat racer in the 1920s.
Charke, Charlotte
Actress and writer Charlotte Charke was known for portraying male characters on the eighteenth-century English stage and for cross-dressing in private life.
Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead)
A versatile character actor, nightclub singer, and international cult star who generally performed his stage show and movie roles in drag, Divine became famous through his appearances in John Waters' films.
Drag Shows: Drag Kings and Male Impersonators
A recent arrival in the drag arena, drag kings are part of an international drag movement that emerged in London and San Francisco in the mid 1980s.
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Eichelberger, Ethyl
An influential figure in experimental theater, writer and drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger is most remembered for his repertoire of self-penned solo plays based on the lives of the great women of history, literature, and myth.
Fierstein, Harvey
Actor Harvey Fierstein has had phenomenal success as both a performer and a playwright, and has been steadfastly committed to the cause of glbtq rights.
Garbo, Greta
Mysterious, aloof, occasionally androgynous, actress Greta Garbo ignited the passions of men and women alike.
Hindle, Annie
The first woman to gain significant attention as a male impersonator in the United States, vaudeville performer Annie Hindle created a stir when she married her dresser, Annie Ryan.
Humphries, Barry
Barry Humphries, a character actor, singer, writer, poet, and painter, is known principally for the stage personas he has developed over a long career.
Indian Art
Not only is sexuality celebrated in Indian art, but many of India's gods also consider gender to be a fluid affair, sometimes manifesting as androgynes and sometimes switching gender altogether.
Inman, John
Acclaimed comic actor John Inman gained international fame for his endearing portrayal of the fey salesman Mr. Humphries on the television series Are You Being Served?.
Kahlo, Frida
Bisexual Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was a masterful exponent of cross-dressing, deliberately using male drag to project power and independence.
Kemp, Lindsay
Mime artist, renegade, and magnetic stage performer, Lindsay Kemp has long had a cult status in alternative theater.
Ludlam, Charles
An innovator in the "Theater of the Ridiculous," actor and playwright Charles Ludlam drew on many elements of camp and farce, but never allowed them to obscure the seriousness of his themes.
Mahlsdorf, Charlotte von
Preservationist and museum founder Charlotte von Mahlsdorf was admired by many for her bravery in the face of persecution and for her openness as a transgendered public figure in perilous times.
Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras, or Carnival, as it is often called, is a festival known for wild abandon, sexual promiscuity, feasting, drinking, dancing, parading, and elaborate masquerade.
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Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
 
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There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
 
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Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
 
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The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
 
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Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
 
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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.
 
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James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
 
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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.
 
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