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Transvestism
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Native American Art
In North American Indian cultures, mixed-gender individuals were depicted in a variety of art forms and, in many tribes, were themselves among the most accomplished artists of their communities.
Pierce, Charles
Self-proclaimed male actress Charles Pierce took an aggressive stance against homophobia, believing that quick wit, a serious attitude, and consummate acting skill could vanquish oppression.
RuPaul (RuPaul Andre Charles)
A six-foot five-inch tall African-American drag queen who usually performs in a blonde wig, RuPaul has given drag a new visibility by infusing it with gentleness and warmth.
Russell, Craig
One of the major female impersonators of the 1970s and 1980s, Craig Russell was also an accomplished actor.
Saint, Assotto
Through his contributions to literary and popular culture, Haitian-born American poet, performance artist, musician, and editor and publisher Assotto Saint increased the visibility of black queer authors and themes during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Combining radical politics, street theater, and high camp, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, composed primarily of gay men, participate in a host of charity functions and political events dressed in drag as nuns.
Takarazuka (All-Female Revues in Japan)
Takarazuka, all-female musical and theater companies, are popular entertainment in Japan, but they tellingly illustrate the construction of gender roles and inspire intense--often homoerotic--fan response.
Thornton, Willie Mae "Big Mama"
A powerhouse performer noted for her no-nonsense stage presence and a penchant for cross-dressing, blues singer and songwriter Big Mama Thornton not only established a signature style of her own, but also inspired mainstream rockers.
Transvestism in Film
Too often cinematic drag is reduced to a mere joke, a harmless tease that tacitly reassures us that people can change their clothes but not their sexual identities.
Variety and Vaudeville
Variety and vaudeville and related theatrical forms featured cross-dressed acts, as well as routines that challenged prevailing gender constructions.
Wood, Ed
Transvestite director Ed Wood died a penniless alcoholic, but posthumously became the center of one of cinema's most enduring cults.
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Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
 
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Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
 
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