“We’re going to keep on struggling for brighter days. We’re going to keep on struggling until we win your love.” — The Black Panther, vol. 7, no. 5, 1971

For an emotion said to be universal, love has never been static. And while attraction in all gender configurations has been around since sex itself, we have seen a dramatic shift in how desire impacts identity.

The visibility and acceptance of diverse notions of self—including lesbian, gay, bi, queer, trans, and more—is expanding to transcend gender binaries. Other expressions of love and sex that have been labeled taboo include interracial marriage, the “free love” values of the 1960s and 1970s sexual revolution, and various forms of contraception, all of which have spawned debates that have reverberated through decades of graphic activism.

Over time, many identities have been silenced, outlawed, or, as in the case of the gay men and trans folks abandoned by the U.S. government’s neglect during the AIDS crisis, left for dead. This discrimination and abuse has taken many forms, from the refusal to recognize marriages and civil unions between people of the same sex to open violence against queer people viewed as threats to heteronormative culture and moral values. Amid this oppression, a vibrant array of communities has arisen to create safer and playful spaces for expressing love and the possibility of a thriving existence.