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.
Córdova left a religious order to become a community-organizer and social worker and then an investigative reporter for the radical newspaper L.A. Free Press. She soon found herself covering stories about such figures as the Weather Underground, Angela Davis, and Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Front.
At the same time, she became involved in numerous love affairs with women, and established herself as a leader in the Los Angeles gay and lesbian movement. A president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, she also co-founded and edited Lesbian Tide, one of the most influential lesbian journals of the 1970s. Her reporting and columns for Lesbian Tide and other publications of the era are now recognized as early examples of advocacy journalism.
Córdova's new book, which features a foreword by historian Lillian Faderman, paints a memorable portrait of a crucial era in the movement for equal rights, even as it also explores the complicated emotions of a Latina "pretty butch" activist coming to terms with the first great love of her life.
In The Advocate, Robin Tyler describes When We were Outlaws as "a major literary accomplishment." She praises Córdova for her "courage to open up her private life, the strengths and weaknesses, internal pains, and mistakes that took her to dark places" and her ability to use dialogue to make scenes vivid. "They are like overhearing conversations with friends, lovers, and other famous activists."
A dramatization of the book is running at West Hollywood's Macha Theater under the title Outlaws on Stage.
The cast of eight queer actors include Raquel Gutierrez, performance artist of Butchlalis de Panochtitlan, as Córdova at 25; Dan Wentzel as Córdova's "political godfather" community leader Morris Kight; Jennifer Weaver as Patty Hearst; and Lauren Steely as Emily Harris of the Symbionese Liberation Army and Córdova's lover, Rachel.
Here Cordova discusses both the book and the dramatization: