Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.
Lesbian actresses have played a significant role in Hollywood, but their contributions have rarely been recognized or spoken of openly; the "lavender marriage" is by no means a relic of the past.
Considering the unique set of problems facing lesbians who want to produce erotic art for the enjoyment of other lesbians, it is remarkable that so much lesbian erotica has been produced in so brief a time.
Olympian Brian Orser, known for both his athleticism and artistry, led a resurgence of Canada as a force to be reckoned with in men's figure skating; after being outed in a palimony suit, he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.
Although American gay film icon Brad Davis has been described as "the first heterosexual actor to die of AIDS," he was widely known as bisexual within the entertainment community.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
In nineteenth-century America men who loved other men often suffered from guilt, but artists such as Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins celebrated male camaraderie and affection, while expatriate John Singer Sargent depicted the dandy, and photographs documented male friendships.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
Film still from one of five film trailers featured in this post.
The British Film Institute's 26th annual Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, which opens March 23, 2012 and runs through April 1, features a number of eagerly anticipated films from around the world. Among them are documentaries about Bishop Eugene Robinson, the ex-gay movement, and writer W. Somerset Maugham, as well as a coming of age story about a lesbian living in Brooklyn and a comedy drama featuring Academy Award-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker.
Macky Alston's Love Free or Die offers an intimate portrait of Bishop Eugene Robinson, whose ordination as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 roiled the Anglican Communion. The film explores his problematic relationship to the Church with an account of his life as husband, father, priest, and activist for full acceptance of glbtq people in the Church.
Memphis filmmaker Morgan Jon Fox's This Is What Love In Action Looks Like documents the plight of a Memphis teenager forced into the church-based "gay de-programming" institution known as Love in Action and the surprising evolution of the institution's director.
Revealing Mr. Maugham, directed by Michael House, explores the life and work of the British author.
Dee Rees' acclaimed debut film, Pariah, focuses on a Brooklyn teenager whose identity and life choices reach crisis point during her final year of high school.
Thom Fitzgerald's Cloudburst, featuring Dukakis and Fricker as septuagenarian lovers is a road movie in which the elderly lesbians are accompanied by an unlikely ally as they leave their hometown in Maine for refuge in Nova Scotia.
Here is a video clip about Love Free or Die.
Here is a trailer for This Is What Love In Action Looks Like.
Here is a trailer for Revealing Mr. Maugham.
Here is a trailer for Pariah.
Here is a clip from Cloudburst.
To learn more about the British Film Institute and the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, visit the BFI website.