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.
Chris Hughes (left) and Sean Eldridge.
Congratulations to Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, who were married at their home in Garrison, New York on June 30, 2012. The couple, who also own a loft in New York City, are known for their activism on behalf of liberal causes, including gay rights and marriage equality.
According to Kelly Faircloth at BetaBeat, the wedding was attended by family members and close friends.
It was followed by a reception at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, which was attended by 400 guests, including Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew McCollum and their wives, as well as by such political figures as Arianna Huffington, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Charles Schumer and Chris Coons and friends and colleagues from the worlds of media, technology, and philanthropy.
Hughes is best known as a co-founder of Facebook and as the social networking guru of President Obama's 2008 campaign. He is publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic.
Eldridge is the founder and treasurer of Protect Our Democracy, an advocacy group based in Garrison that seeks campaign finance reform. He is also the president of Hudson River Ventures, an investment firm in Garrison. Until July 2011, he was the political director of Freedom to Marry.
The couple have been generous donors to the drive for marriage equality; in 2010, they announced a $225,000 challenge grant by which they would match donations to the cause, including $100,000 to Freedom to Marry. Indeed, they made the public announcement of their engagement in January 2011 at their loft home in lower Manhattan a fundraiser for marriage equality.
Most recently, they made a challenge grant of $100,000 to the campaign to achieve marriage equality in Maine.
As Vincent Mallozzi recounts in the New York Times, Hughes and Eldridge met in November 2005 at a brunch in Harvard Square.
Hughes found Eldridge "very intelligent and charismatic . . . . He was very kind and politically engaged, and he cared about the world around us. All of that was very attractive to me."
Eldridge was equally attracted. A week later, he asked Hughes out on a date.
"I think we shared a lot of important, common interests," Eldridge said. "We have a love of philosophy, politics and literature. He was one of the most intelligent and ambitious people I had ever met."
As Linda Rapp observes in her glbtq.come entry on them, "their romance blossomed immediately, and they quickly became a committed couple."
In 2011, Hughes told Ari Karpel of The Advocate that he and Eldridge "both want to have a serious impact on the world" and so are following the example of Tim Gill of the Gill Foundation and Jon Stryker of the Arcus Foundation, who support both glbtq rights and other progressive causes.
"As a gay man, I want the freedom to marry Sean so we can build a family and a life together over the long term," Hughes said. "I think marriage is a basic fundamental freedom that every American should have."
In the video below, from December 2010, Hughes and Eskridge announced a $50,000 matching grant to Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, where Hughes volunteered when he was a student at Harvard.