Three historically-specific definitions of the term “gay male literature” can be given. They are: (1) the portrayal of male-male desire in all of literature; (2) literature relating to the discursive category of homosexuality from 1869 onwards; and (3) literature relating to gay liberation from 1969 onwards. The resulting corpus of gay male literature varies from all-encompassing for definition (1) – a reader is free to uncover male-male desire in any text – to relatively small for definition (3) – only texts written by openly gay authors about gay characters are included.
Oever, Roel van den. “Gay Male Literature.” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, edited by Nancy A. Naples, Wiley Blackwell, 2016. Wiley Online Library, doi: 10.1002/9781118663219.