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.
In a surprise move by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on July 28, 2013, the stay on Judge Vaughn Walker's historic decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional was lifted and same-sex marriages in California quickly resumed. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 in federal court were the first couples to be married.
Two days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the proponents of Proposition 8 lacked standing to appeal Judge Walker's decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on his order that invalidated Proposition 8.
Although the Ninth Circuit could have waited up to 25 days to act, Governor Jerry Brown had directed the state's 58 counties to resume issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples as soon as the stay was lifted.
After the Court's action on June 28, Brown declared that same-sex marriage "is now legal in California" and that marriage licenses must be issued "immediately."
The first same-sex marriage following the Court's action occurred in San Francisco just before 5:00 p.m. One of the two couples who challenged Prop. 8, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, received their license at 4:15 p.m.
Attorney General Kamala Harris went to City Hall to perform the nuptials.
After Harris said, "I now declare you spouses for life," the hastily assembled crowd burst into raucous cheers.
"We've waited so long," Stier said. "It's a great day for us, for San Francisco, for the United States."
After the brief ceremony Harris said "this is about the long struggle for civil rights. I applaud the Ninth Circuit for acting so quickly."
The other plaintiffs in the landmark lawsuit, Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, were married in Los Angeles an hour later by Mayor Villaraigosa.
In his declaration Friday, Governor Brown also said that registered domestic partners in California could be issued a marriage license. Additionally, he said that same-sex couples legally married in another jurisdiction "will be considered already legally married under California marriage licensing and certification laws and they should not be issued a new marriage license."
The resumption of same-sex marriage in the nation's largest state has energized the annual Pride celebrations in California and throughout the nation.