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Music: Popular
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Music and AIDS
A number of musical works in various genres have responded directly or indirectly to the AIDS crisis, generally focusing on expressions of grief, anger, or sympathy rather than on the personal and social consequences of the disease.
Music Festivals
A cultural institution among lesbians, women's music festivals are community-based events that celebrate women's space as much as women's music.
Music: Popular
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons have had tremendous influence on popular music, though some musical genres have been more receptive to a homosexual presence than others.
Music Video
Gay and lesbian content in music videos was rare in the early 1980s, but with more openly gay and bisexual artists that situation has gradually changed.
Music: Women's
Stylistically diverse and continually evolving, women's music has broadened over time, but it remains committed to lesbian visibility and feminist values.
Musical Theater and Film
The musical has been a significant aspect of American gay male culture, manifesting itself both in diva worship and, more recently, in the presentation of openly gay characters and shows written by gay writers primarily for gay audiences.
Ndegeocello, Meshell
Singer, songwriter, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello is a notably eclectic artist whose music confronts social and sexual issues, including racial identity, same-sex attraction, and homophobia.
Near, Holly
Activist, singer, and songwriter Holly Near has been a tremendous influence in the formation and promotion of the women's music movement.
Novello, Ivor
Show business renaissance man extraordinaire, Ivor Novello not only composed the scores of musical comedies, but also acted in films while dominating the London stage as a playwright and romantic leading man for three decades.
Ottman, John
In addition to scoring over thirty full-length motion pictures, American film composer, editor, and director John Ottman has also created musical compositions for numerous short films, television programs, and commercials.
Pansy Division
The first rock band entirely composed of gay musicians who sang frankly gay-themed tunes, Pansy Division have recently emerged with a more mature sound.
Pet Shop Boys
The recordings of the British pop duo Pet Shop Boys may be seen as a reaction to events that stirred the British gay community in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
Porter, Cole
Living the paradoxical life of an openly closeted gay man, songwriter Cole Porter introduced non-normative values and risqué double entendres into what was one of the most pedestrian and hackneyed of cultural forms.
Rainey, Gertrude ("Ma")
"Mother of the Blues" Gertrude "Ma" Rainey made no secret of her relationships with women.
Ray, Johnnie
Singer Johnnie Ray caused a sensation in the 1950s with energetic concert performances of hit songs, but his career was damaged by arrests for solicitation and gossip about his sexuality.
Reed, Lou
In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, bisexual rock musician Lou Reed, pencil-thin, craggy, and dressed in tough leather or androgynous glitz, came to symbolize the rebellious outsider.
Robinson, Tom
British rocker and activist Tom Robinson was embraced by the gay rights movement in the late 1970s, but became the subject of controversy in the 1990s when he chose to live with a woman and become a father.
Rock Music
Although rock music has been closely associated with freedom of expression and rebelliousness, it has not been particularly welcoming to gay and lesbian performers.
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.
Russo, Renato
One of Brazil's most popular rock singers, Renato Russo challenged homophobia in his homeland by coming out as a gay man.
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.
Scissor Sisters
The American pop band Scissor Sisters was spawned in New York City's gay club scene; frequently addressing issues of transgressive sexuality, the band has cultivated a large glbtq fan base.
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.
The Smiths and Morrissey
A Manchester pop group that flourished from 1982 to 1987, The Smiths created a highly original brand of punk-inspired music with queer subtexts; the group's singer and lyricist, Morrissey, in his solo career cultivates an androgynous image.
Somerville, Jimmy
Noted for his diminutive size and amazing voice, Jimmy Somerville achieved fame as the lead singer with the openly gay pop groups Bronski Beat and The Communards; many of his songs are overtly political and deal with such issues as gay relationships and the loss of friends to AIDS.
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Popular Topics in The Arts
Nyad, Diana Nyad, Diana
Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
 
Dattani, Mahesh
Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.
 
Baker, Josephine Baker, Josephine
Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.
 
Cadmus, Paul 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.
 
Caja, Jerome
San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
 
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
 
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators 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.
 
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
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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