Historically, the term "gay literature" was sometimes used to cover both gay male and lesbian literatures. In a historical sense, literature as we understand it is a fairly new innovation, and the current concept of homosexuality is even fresher from the cultural oven. It's no great surprise, then, that gay literature — or even gay characters in literature — are so relatively new as to still be shiny. Because the social acceptance of homosexuality has varied in many world cultures throughout history, LGBT literature has covered a vast array of themes and concepts. LGBT individuals have often turned to literature as a source of validation, understanding, and beautification of same-sex attraction. In contexts where homosexuality has been perceived negatively, LGBT literature may also document the psychological stresses and alienation suffered by those experiencing prejudice, legal discrimination, AIDS , self-loathing, bullying, violence, religious condemnation, denial, suicide, persecution, and other such obstacles.
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