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.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (Photo: David Shankbone, CC BY SA 3.0).
Congratulations to New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her partner Kim Catullo, who were married on May 19, 2012. At a ceremony attended by New York's political elite, including Governor Cuomo, both U.S. Senators, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the brides were walked down the aisle by their fathers.
As Kate Taylor reports in the New York Times, Quinn, who is the leading candidate to succeed Bloomberg as mayor, married Catullo in "one of the most prominent same-sex weddings of a public official to date."
As Taylor writes, "The wedding, coming a year after the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State and a year before the mayoral election, has been the buzz of New York political circles in recent weeks and has brought Ms. Quinn the kind of celebrity-style coverage rarely enjoyed by a local candidate for office. As she has talked about the fun of trying on dresses and the stress of writing her wedding vows, it has also provided her an opportunity to soften her sometimes tough image and to remind New Yorkers that she would be both the first female and the first openly gay New York City mayor."
The wedding took place at an event space in the meatpacking district before an audience of 300 guests, including friends and family as well as dozens of prominent officials.
Broadway actress Audra McDonald sang George and Ira Gershwin's song "He Loves and She Loves," with a slight tweak to the lyrics. The couple played a video they had made about their relationship. In her vows, Quinn said that she could not imagine life without Catullo.
Judith S. Kaye, former Chief Judge of New York's highest court, who in 2006 wrote an impassioned dissent to a court ruling rejecting the right of same-sex couples to marry, officiated. As Taylor reports, "When she pronounced the words--'In accordance with the laws of the State of New York, and the authority that has been vested in me by the people of the State of New York, I pronounce you completely, absolutely and permanently married'--the crowd stood up and burst into applause."
Quinn and Catullo, an attorney, have been a couple since 2001.
As Quinn lobbied the legislature last year on behalf of the marriage equality bill, she frequently spoke of her and Catullo's wish to marry while their fathers were still alive. When the bill passed, Quinn described the experience as "one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life."
Quinn is the first woman, the first openly gay person, and the first Irish-American to serve as the Speaker of the New York City Council. She first entered politics as the campaign manager for Thomas K. Duane in his bid for the New York City Council in 1991. Following his election as the first openly gay member of the Council, she served as his Chief of Staff for five years. She subsequently became the Executive Director of the New York Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and while in that position was also named by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to the New York City Police/Community Relations Task Force.
In 1999 Quinn made her first run for office in a special election to fill the Council seat of Duane, who had been elected to the New York Senate. She won and quickly established a record as a champion on a wide variety of issues, including not only glbtq rights but also women's health, affordable housing, early childhood education, nutrition programs, maintenance and rehabilitation of libraries, and lobbying reform.
Quinn ascended to the Speakership of the City Council in January 2006, elected by a vote of fifty to zero, with one abstention.
Recent polls show that Quinn holds a large lead in the race to win the Democratic nomination for Mayor of New York City.
In the video below, Speaker Quinn reacts to the President Obama's support for marriage equality.