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Music: Popular
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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.
Springfield, Dusty
Now widely acclaimed as one of the greatest voices of popular music, British rock star of the 1960s Dusty Springfield has long been a lesbian icon.
Stipe, Michael
Lead singer, lyricist, and composer for the rock band R.E.M., as well as a movie producer, Michael Stipe identifies himself as a queer artist.
Strayhorn, William Thomas
A major figure in American music who immensely enriched jazz by investing it with complexly orchestrated form, a prolific composer, arranger, and performing musician, Billy Strayhorn was unusual for his refusal to hide his homosexuality.
Sweet Honey in the Rock
An ensemble of Black women singers who are also cultural and political activists, Sweet Honey in the Rock has embraced lesbianism as a life force and given it a voice.
Sylvester
One of the most original and talented musicians to come out of the disco arena, Sylvester was a versatile stylist who brought depth--as well as campiness--to all his material.
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.
Tyler, Robin
Charismatic performer and activist Robin Tyler has spent much of her life enmeshed in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights, from planning national marches to promoting same-sex marriage.
Vargas, Chavela
Acclaimed Costa Rican-Mexican performer and singer Chavela Vargas became notorious for the eroticism of her performances and for her open expression of lesbian desire.
The Village People
The Village People, a disco-era singing group, successfully translated the interests, coded language, and iconography of the gay male subculture into music that crossed over into mainstream pop.
Wainwright, Rufus
Singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright, dubbed the "thinking gay man's sex symbol," has built a successful career with witty lyrics and rich melodies.
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.
Wenner, Jann
Jann Wenner, founder and editor of the influential music and culture magazine Rolling Stone, was outed in 1995.
Williamson, Cris
Pioneering singer, songwriter, activist, and teacher, Cris Williamson has been at the forefront of the women's music movement--and a major presence in the lesbian community--for decades.
Wright, Robert (1914-2005), and George "Chet" Forrest (1915-1999)
Composers and lyricists Robert Wright and George "Chet" Forrest, partners in life and art, specialized in adapting themes from classical music into engaging tunes for movie scores and stage musicals.
Young, Will
The first winner of the British Pop Idol talent show, Will Young has gone on to achieve success as a recording artist and actor, while also using his celebrity to advocate for good causes.
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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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