The Cambridge Companion to Gay and Lesbian Writing
Literature has always been concerned with questions of kinship, love, marriage, desire, family relationships. The central and privileged stories have tended to assume that desire will be desire between girl and boy. Obstacles are thrown in the way of desire. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1597), the heroine and hero cannot marry because their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are feuding. The obstacles which stand in the way of same-sex romantic entanglements have been much more encompassing. Before the twentieth century, they have, for the most part, been represented as an impossibility rather than a desirable outcome thwarted by circumstance.