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Homosexuality as we know it today was not fully codified until the mid-20th century, though this process began much earlier: Following in the tradition of Michel Foucault, scholars such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and David Halperin have argued that various Victorian public discourses, notably the psychiatric and the legal, fostered a designation or invention of the "homosexual" as a distinct category of individuals, a category solidified by the publications of sexologists such as Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1902) and Havelock Ellis (1859–1939), sexologists who provided an almost-pathological interpretation of the phenomenon in rather Essentialist terms, an interpretation that led, before 1910, to hundreds of articles on the subject in The Netherlands, Germany, and elsewhere.One result of this burgeoning discourse was that the "homosexual" was often portrayed as a corrupter of the innocent, with a predisposition towards both depravity and paederasty—a necessary portrayal if Late-Victorian and Edwardian sexologists were to account for the continuing existence of the "paederast" in a world that had suddenly become bountiful in "homosexuals." (Kaylor, Secreted Desires, p.The concept differs from the concept of homosexuality: it refers specifically to the desire itself, which can be temporary, whereas "homosexuality" implies a more permanent state of identity or sexual orientation.It is a much older concept than the 19th century idea of homosexuality, and is depicted or manifested throughout the history of the visual arts and literature.
Thomas Mann published an essay, "Über die Ehe" (On Marriage), written in 1925, where he states that homoeroticism is aesthetic, while heterosexuality is prosaic.
In the west, this can be seen as long ago as the 1872 novel Carmilla, and is also seen in cinema in such popular films as Emmanuelle, The Hunger, Showgirls, and most of all in pornography.
In the east, especially Japan, lesbianism is the subject of the manga subgenre yuri. (1985); Maurice, UK (1985); Summer Vacation 1999, Japan, (1988); Brokeback Mountain, U.
33) Despite an ever-changing and evolving set of modern classifications, members of the same sex often formed intimate associations (many of which were erotic as well as emotional) on their own terms, most notably in the "romantic friendships" documented in the letters and papers of 18th- and 19th- century men and women (see Rictor Norton, ed., My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries, Gay Sunshine Press, 1998).
These romantic friendships, which may or may not have included genital sex, were characterized by passionate emotional attachments and what modern thinkers would consider homoerotic overtones.
Fine art photographers such as Karl Hammer, Wilhelm von Gloeden, David Hockney, Will Mc Bride, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pierre et Gilles, Bernard Faucon, Anthony Goicolea have also made a strong contribution, Mapplethorpe and Mc Bride being notably in breaking down barriers of gallery censorship and braving legal challenges. See: List of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films.