- LGBT culture
LGBT culture, or queer culture, is the common culture shared by
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queerpeople. It is sometimes referred to as "gay culture", but that term can also be specific to gay men's culture.
LGBT culture varies widely by geography and the identity of the participants.Elements often identified as being common to the culture of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people include:
* The work of famous gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. This may include:
**Present-day LGBT artists and political figures;
**Historical figures who have been identified as LGBT. It has often been questioned whether it is appropriate to identify historical figures using modern terms for sexual identity (see
History of sexuality). However, many LGBT people feel a kinship towards these people and their work, especially to the extent that it deals with same-sex attraction or gender identity.
*An understanding of the history of LGBT political movements.
*An ironic appreciation of things linked by stereotype to LGBT people.
*Figures and identities that are present in the LGBT community; in Euro-American LGBT culture, this could include the
gay village, drag kings and queens, Pride, and the rainbow flag.
In some cities, especially in North America, gay men and lesbians tend to live in certain neighbourhoods.
LGBT communities organize a number of events to celebrate their culture, such as
Pride parades, the Gay Gamesand Southern Decadence.
Gay male culture
Historically, and specifically in the last century, American culture as a whole (but also Europe and Latin America) has focused much more heavily on gay men than on other members of the LGBT community. This may be due to larger numbers of men than women or transgender people coming out, it may be due to gay men typically being more brash in their coming out (and having more resources available to them to justify, explore and perform their sexuality), or it may be due to Western culture as a whole still seeing men and male experience as the central experience in culture, even if the men in question are transgressing established gender norms. Research into lesbian histories and cultures is fledgling by comparison. Indeed it may be argued that gay men have, in certain circles, enjoyed a peculiarly privileged relationship to cultural production, by comparison with lesbians, trans people and some might argue women in general. The subject is open to debate, but gay male culture is often better known to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people than those groups' particular cultures may be known to gay men.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, gay culture was highly covert and relied upon secret symbols and codes woven into an overall straight context. Gay influence in early America was mostly limited to
high culture. The association of gay men with opera, ballet, professional sports, couture, fine cuisine, musical theater, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and interior designbegan with wealthy homosexual men using the straight themes of these media to send their own signals. In the very heterocentric Marilyn Monroefilm "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", a musical number features Jane Russellsinging "Anyone Here for Love" in a gym while muscled men dance around her. The men's costumes were designed by a man, the dance was choreographed by a man, and the dancers seem more interested in each other than in Russell, but her reassuring presence gets the sequence past the censorsand fits it into an overall heterocentrictheme.After the Stonewall riotsin the United States in 1969, gay male culture began to be publicly acknowledged for the first time. Some gay men formed the Violet Quillsociety, which focused on writing about gay experience as something central and normal in a story for the first time, rather than as a "naughty" sideline to a mostly straight story. A good example is the short story "A Boy's Own Story" by Edmund White. In this first volume of a trilogy, White writes as a young homophilicnarrator growing up under the shadow of a corrupt and remote father. The young man learns bad habits from his straight father and applies them to a gay existence.
Throughout the 1970s, gay male culture was a growing influence on American pop culture as a whole. Celebrities such as
Liza Minnelliand Bette Midlerspent a significant amount of their social time with urban gay men, who were now popularly viewed as sophisticated and stylish by the jet set. And more celebrities themselves, such as Andy Warhol, were open about their relationships. Such openness was still limited to the largest urban areas such as New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, however, until AIDS forced several popular celebrities out of the closet due to their contraction of what was known at first as a "gay cancer".
Some elements that may be identified more closely with gay men than with other groups include:
gay icons who have had a traditionally gay male following (for example, in Euro-American gay culture, disco, Madonna, Judy Garland, Cher, and so forth);
*familiarity with certain aspects of romantic, sexual, and social life that have been common among gay men (for example, in Euro-American gay culture,
Polari, poppers, camp, and the fag hag; in Indian gay culture, evening people).
There are a number of subcultures within gay male culture, such as bears, chubbies, and
gay skinheads. There are also subcultures that have historically had a large gay male population, such as the leather and SM subcultures.
There are also many gay men who do not follow any of these subcultures or so-called gay fashions, and who do not worship gay icons. Gay men are individuals, and cannot be identified by appearance or personal taste. There are gay men in every field imaginable, and enjoy many types of fashions and music. The trendy gays who frequent certain gay clubs/discos and Gay Pride festivals are not necessarily typical of the average gay man in the country, many of whom are to some extent still in the closet. Not least because the commercial gay scene with its very limited range of music/fashions/gay icons etc. excludes everyone who does not fit in with this image. This could be described as 'gay fascism' - if a gay man prefers long hair, a 1950s quiff, a mohawk,
dreadlocksor liberty spikesto a shaved head or a #1 cuthe may feel unwelcome in many gay venues. A gay man into Rockabilly, 1950s Rock'n'Roll or Blues, hot rods and the Teddy-boy/Rockabilly look, for instance, might find little appeal on the commercial gay scene. The Queercoremovement as well as the group Gay shamecritiques the commercialization of gay society.
Groups critical of the sex-orientated part of contemporary gay male culture also exists, most recently in gay activist
Larry Kramer's 2005 book "The Tragedy of Today's Gays".
Online culture and communities
From the mid-1990s, gay IRC channels emerged, with their content ranging the full spectrum from social networking to immediate arrangements for sexual contact.
More recently, a number of online social interaction websites for gay men have been established. Initially, these concentrated on sexual contact or titillation. Typically, users were afforded a profile page as well as access to other members' pages, member-to-member messaging and instant-message chat.
Smaller, more densely-connected websites concentrating on social networking without a focus on sexual contact have been established. Some forbid all explicit sexual content; others do not.
Online sexual contact sites for gay men have already altered dramatically the sexual behaviour of a large proportion of the gay population of regions where these sites are strongly patronised. There are signs that on-line social networking communities for gay men are also having a more profound impact on gay culture than their 'straight' equivalent sites.
As with gay men, lesbian culture includes elements both from the larger LGBT culture and elements that are more closely specific to the lesbian community.
Often thought of in this regard are elements of
counterculturethat have been primarily associated with lesbians in Europe and North America. The history of lesbian culture over the last half-century has also been tightly entwined with the evolution of feminism. Lesbian separatismis an example of a lesbian theory and practice which identifies specifically lesbian interests and ideas and promotes a specific sort of lesbian culture.
Older stereotypes of lesbian women stressed a dichotomy between women who adhered to stereotypical male gender stereotypes ("
butch") and stereotypical female gender stereotypes (" femme"), and that typical lesbian couples consisted of a butch/femme pairing. Today, some lesbian women adhere to being either "butch" or "femme," but these categories are much less rigid and there is no express expectation that a lesbian couple be butch/femme. There is a sub-culture within the lesbian community called "Aristasia", where lesbians in the community adhere to exaggerated levels of femininity. In this culture, there are two genders, blonde and brunette, although they are unrelated to actual hair color. Brunettes are femme, yet blondes are even more so. Also notable are diesel dykes, extremely butch women who use male forms of dress and behavior. Lipstick lesbianrefers to feminine women who are attracted only to other feminine women. Lesbian culture also has its own icons such as Melissa Etheridge. Others include k.d. lang(butch), Ellen DeGeneres( androgynous), and Portia de Rossi(femme).
One popular misconception is that bisexuals find all humans sexually attractive. That is no more true than the idea that, say, all straight men would find all women sexually attractive. More people of all kinds are becoming aware that there are some people who find attractive sexual partners among both men and women - sometimes equally, sometimes favoring one sex in particular, "(also see
Kinsey scale, Klein Sexual Orientation Grid)".
Distinctions exist between
sexual orientation"(attraction, inclination, preference, or desire)", gender identity "(self-identification or self-concept)" and sexual behavior "(the sex of one's actual sexual partners)". For example, someone who may find people of either sex attractive might in practice have relationships only with people of one particular sex. [http://www.biresource.org/pamphlets/scales.html]
Many bisexual people consider themselves to be part of the
In an effort to create both more visibility, and a symbol for the
bisexual communityto gather behind, Michael Page created the bisexual pride flag. The bisexual flag, which has a pink or red stripe at the top for homosexuality, a blue one on the bottom for heterosexuality and a purple one in the middle to represent bisexuality, as purple is from the combination of red and blue.
Celebrate Bisexuality Dayhas been observed on September 23by members of the bisexual communityand their allies since 1999 .
The study of
transgenderculture as such is complicated by the many and various ways in which cultures deal with gender. For example, in many cultures, people who are attracted to people of the same sex — that is, those who in contemporary Western culture would identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual — are classed as a third gender, together with people who would in the West be classified as transgender or transsexual.
Also in the contemporary West, there are usually several different groups of transgender and transsexual people, some of which are extremely exclusive, like groups only for transsexual women who explicitly want
sex reassignment surgeryor male, heterosexual only cross-dressers. Transmen's groups are often, but not always, more inclusive. Groups aiming at all transgender people, both transmen and transwomen, have in most cases appeared only in the last few years.
Some transgender or transsexual women and men however do not classify as being part of any specific "trans" culture, however there is a distinction between transgender and transsexual people who make their past known to others and those who wish to live according to their gender identity and not reveal this past, stating that they should be able to live in their true gender role in a normal way, and be in control of whom they choose to tell their past to.
Other groups within the LGBT community
Other groups of sexual minorities which have formed significant communities and possibly cultures include the Deaf Queer community. [http://www.deafqueer.org/]
There is some debate among LGBT people about whether an LGBT culture really exists, and whether it is worthwhile.Not all people who identify as LGBT participate in any kind of LGBT culture. (Those who do not sometimes refer to themselves as
same gender lovingor same-sex attracted in order to distance themselves from what they perceive as negative aspects of LGBT culture). Some argue that this makes the idea of a culture meaningless.Critics also assert that the culture constitutes a stereotype, or is associated with only a radical minority.Others argue that LGBT culture is an undeniable fact, and/or that it constitutes the basis of an LGBT nation with a common understanding and history.
Issues of inclusiveness within the LGBT community -- gay communities excluding lesbians, gay and lesbian communities excluding bisexuals, GLB communities excluding trans people -- often lead to questions about the ability of the community have one united culture.
List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people
List of transgender-related topics
Media portrayal of bisexuality
Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures
* [http://www.androphile.org The Androphile Project] Extensive resource of gay and bisexual history
* [http://www.glbthistory.org The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society]
* [http://www.GayCityUSA.com/Encyclopedia.htm Gay Resources and Encyclopedia]
* [http://bi.org/ bi.org Web Hub for bisexual sites and resources]
* [http://www.bimagazine.org/home/index.html BiMagazine] (English Language)
* [http://www.bicommunitynews.co.uk Bi Community News] (UK)
* [http://community.livejournal.com/lnbi_berichten/ Bi-Nieuws Magazine] (Nederlanden)
* [http://www.bitribune.com/ Bisexual Tribune] (Midwest USA)
* [http://www.thefence.ca/ The Fence for/by bisexual women] (Canada)
* [http://www.lnbi.nl/ LNBi] (Nederlanden)
* [http://www.binetcanada.ca/ BiNetCanada]
* [http://www.binetusa.org BiNet USA] (American Civil Rights Organization)
* [http://bisexual.org American Institute of Bisexuality] (research foundation)
* [http://www.biresource.org Bisexual Resource Center (BRC)]
soc.binewsgroup FAQ] Bi newsgroup
* [http://bisexual.org/ Bisexual Foundation]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
LGBT culture in Ireland — LGBT life on the island of Ireland is made up of persons who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender/transexual.Queer culture historyThe Pirate QueenIreland s legendary Pirate QueenFact|date=August 2008 was Gráinne Mhaoil (otherwise… … Wikipedia
LGBT culture in the Philippines — LGBT (also GLBT) is an initialism referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual people.cite web last=Swain first=Keith W. title=Gay Pride Needs New Direction publisher=Denver Post date=21 June 2007 url… … Wikipedia
LGBT parenting — refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people parenting one or more children. This includes children raised by same sex couples (same sex parenting), children raised by single LGBT parents, and children raised by an opposite sex … Wikipedia
LGBT slang — or gay slang in linguistics refers to a form of English slang used predominantly among LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people.Differences and similarities to PolariModern LGBT slang has origins in the English language. Polari was a… … Wikipedia
LGBT history — Gay Liberation monument in New York City LGBT history refers to the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) peoples and cultures around the world, dating back to the first recorded instances of same sex love and sexuality of… … Wikipedia
LGBT themes in mythology — Part of a series on LGBT themes in mythology Regional mythologies … Wikipedia
LGBT stereotypes — Dykes on Bikes motorcycle group in a pride parade is considered a stereotype of butch lesbians. Stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are conventional, formulaic generalizations, opinions, or images about persons … Wikipedia
LGBT rights in Spain — The rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered persons in Spain have undergone several drastic changes in recent decades. Today Spain provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT community. However, this… … Wikipedia
LGBT rights in Romania — Romania, like a number of other Eastern European countries, remains socially conservative with regard to the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens. Despite this, the country has made significant progress in LGBT rights… … Wikipedia
LGBT rights in the United Kingdom — British attitudes towards LGBT rights and homosexuality are regarded as some of the most liberal in the world.British law provides for equal ages of consent, regardless of sexual orientation, at 16. Same sex marriage is not legal, even though… … Wikipedia