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.
Terry Miller (left) and Dan Savage.
Congratulations to Dan Savage and Terry Miller, who received the prestigious Governor's Award at the 2012 Creative Arts Emmys on September 15, 2012. The men were honored for their work on the "It Gets Better" Project, an anti-bullying campaign and video series that consists of some 30,000 YouTube videos and MTV and Logo specials.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Savage and Miller received a standing ovation when they were introduced by "It Gets Better" contributor Neil Patrick Harris. The Governor's Award was presented by Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Chair Bruce Rosenblum.
In his acceptance speech, Savage said, "Terry Miller is my husband in Canada and boyfriend in America," alluding to the fact that their 2005 marriage in Vancouver, British Columbia is not recognized by the United States government. "He was the first to recognize the power of this project," Savage said of Miller.
Savage also said, "The award is not for us. It's for the project."
He added, "I think it's a moment in our culture when it's broken through to the world that LGBT children were suffering and dying. The award means that the culture is reconciling itself to the needs of LGBT kids, who grow up in straight families and are often bullied by their own families."
He later told The Hollywood Reporter, "To get a standing ovation from that crowd was flabbergasting. . . . I actually teared up and then I couldn't see to read the teleprompter and I had to wing it."
The Creative Arts Emmys took place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and will be broadcast on September 22, the day before the Primetime Emmys.
The first MTV and Logo "It Gets Better" special was aired in February 2012. It focused on the stories of three young people at a crossroads in their lives: a young man struggling to tell his family and friends that he is gay; a lesbian fighting for parental acceptance; and a transgender man preparing to get married. It may be viewed at MTV.com.
On September 17, 2012, the networks announced that a new, 60-minute "It Gets Better" special will be aired on October 9, just two days ahead of National Coming Out Day.
Savage and Miller will again anchor the special, which will share stories and experiences of young people who are growing up glbtq.
Savage and Miller founded the "It Gets Project" in September 2010. They were moved by the suicide of Billy Lucas, a Greensburg, Indiana teenager who had been mercilessly bullied. They wanted to reassure young people that, however awful their predicament might seem at the time, "it gets better."
"I realized," Savage told a New York Times reporter, "that with things like YouTube and social media, we can talk directly to these kids. We can make an end run around the schools that don't protect them, from parents who want to keep gay kids isolated and churches that tell them that they are sinful or disordered."
In the first video posted on the "It Gets Better" YouTube channel, Savage and Miller explain how it got better for them.