A theory of art and an approach to living that influenced many European and American gay male and lesbian writers at the turn of the twentieth century, aestheticism stressed the independence of art from all moral and social conditions and judgments.
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.
Most African-American lesbian literature is as concerned with racism as it is with sexuality, causing many writers to construct Afrocentric sexual identities that affirm the power of black women.
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.
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.
The author of triumphant rags-to-riches stories of young men who succeed financially by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, Horatio Alger, Jr. created an enduring American myth that his actual life belied.
Of mixed Native American, Scottish, and Lebanese heritage, American poet and literary scholar Paula Gunn Allen reinterprets the historic and mythic beliefs of Native Americans from a twentieth-century lesbian-feminist perspective.
South Carolina native Dorothy Allison refuses to write didactic or romantic illustrations of the lesbian experience, focusing instead on the sheer survival of her lesbian characters in the hostile environment of Southern working-class families.
American novelist Lisa Alther creates fictional worlds in which lesbianism is a fluctuating force as tenuous as all other forms of relationships in a frequently absurd universe.
Historically either distrusted as agents of chaos or admired as examples of female power and intelligence, Amazons were depicted as heterosexual until the twentieth century, when lesbians adopted them as symbols of powerful women living without men.
Although sparsely documented and frequently in a condemnatory context, instances of same-sex male attraction or activity during the American colonial period can be found in or inferred from court documents, travel narratives, sermons, and letters.
Although largely invisible to the general public, a large body of twentieth-century gay male literature by American authors was published prior to Stonewall, some of it positive but most of it tinged with misery or bleakness as the price of being published and disseminated.
After Stonewall, gay male literature became focused as a movement, aided by the development of gay newspapers, magazines, and quarterlies and the founding of serious gay and lesbian bookstores.
American lesbian literature prior to Stonewall exploited the "outlaw" status of the lesbian as it moved from encrypted strategies of expression to overt political celebrations of woman-for-woman passion.
Since Stonewall various political agendas have dominated American lesbian literature.
Although sometimes coded as romantic friendship, both gay male and lesbian attractions are reflected in nineteenth-century American poetry and fiction, including works by such major figures as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson.
Most gay, lesbian, and bisexual American writers who adhered to Marxist-oriented parties and social movements between 1917 and the 1960s strove to hide their sexual orientation, and some even depicted homosexuals negatively in their fiction and drama.
Performance artist, story teller, essayist, and novelist, Jonathan Ames describes himself as "the gayest straight writer in America."
Best known as editor of the early twentieth-century literary journal The Little Review, Margaret Anderson also published a frank lesbian novel and a three-volume autobiography.
Terry Andrews is the pseudonym under which was published The Story of Harold, one of the most remarkable queer books of the twentieth century.
American Latina lesbian editor and writer Gloria Anzaldúa connected racism and homophobia to posit a political queerness that interconnects with all struggles against oppression.
Lesbian and feminist novelist and publisher June Fairfax Davis gave voice to complicated characters who previously had no voice in literature.
One of the most gifted critics of American literature of the mid-twentieth century, Newton Arvin is today most remembered as a lover and mentor of Truman Capote and as the central figure in a 1960 scandal at Smith College.
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.
Asian American gays and lesbians voice richly multiple and diverse identities as they assert sexual autonomy in the face of stereotyping, homophobia, and racism.