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.
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.
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.
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.
Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
The greatest dancer of his time, Rudolf Nureyev also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.
While nude depictions of women appear in most cultures, on both sides of the equator, and in rich variety, lesbian artists have been particularly resourceful in their use of the female nude.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
Detail from "Song of Hillary Clinton" by Carl Gopal.
He has mixed his mediums and metaphors to explore sexual relationships (1992) and America's identity in a time of war (2011). In the latter series, "The Assassination of Judy Garland--A Metaphorical Portrait of America," he used the arc of gay icon Judy Garland to explore American politics and characters like Obama, Hillary Clinton, Benyamin Netanyahu, Rahm Emanuel, and Tzipi Livni.
He also uses musicals like South Pacific to comment on the use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gopal maintains that "the power of the queer lens can influence [more than] culture wars. It can be a way of reshaping the world by applying queer concepts to tough problems."
His website at www.carlgopal.com includes galleries of paintings from 1991 to the present and also his studio blog posts. Some of his more recent work is featured in "A Star is Born: Metaphorical Portraits of America," an extensive Tikkun Daily blog post.