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.
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.
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.
Olympian Brian Orser, known for both his athleticism and artistry, led a resurgence of Canada as a force to be reckoned with in men's figure skating; after being outed in a palimony suit, he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.
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.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
In nineteenth-century America men who loved other men often suffered from guilt, but artists such as Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins celebrated male camaraderie and affection, while expatriate John Singer Sargent depicted the dandy, and photographs documented male friendships.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
John Ashbery. Photograph by David Shankbone (CC BY 3.0).
In accepting the award, Ashbery spoke of the joys of writing poetry, which, he said, "gives me a pleasure I can almost taste." He added, "It is fun, though it isn't supposed to be. But somehow the difficulty is embedded in the pleasure."
Ashbery, who was born in 1929, is widely considered among the finest living American poets. Although he generally avoids explict gay content in his poems, his work is often marked by his experience as a gay man, especially in its ironic perspective, its evocation of camp, and its persistent exploration of the nature of identity.
Other winners of awards presented at the celebratory evening hosted by actor and author John Lithgow were Jesmyn Ward, who won the National Book Award for fiction for Salvage the Bones, and Steven Greenblatt, who won the National Book Award for nonfiction for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.
In addition, Nikky Finney won the award for poetry for Head Off & Split, while Thanhha Lai received the award for young people's literature for Inside Out and Back Again.
The category of young people's literature produced drama this year when Lauren Myracle was named to the original shortlist in that category for her book Shine, a novel about the experience of a gay teenager who is the victim of a hate crime.
Shortly afterward, however, the National Book Foundation announced that Myracle's book was included on the list by mistake. The Foundation said that it would stay on the shortlist anyway, but added a sixth book, Chime by Franny Billingsley, which had originally been intended to be a finalist.
Soon after that announcement, the Foundation reversed itself, asking Myracle to withdraw from consideration.
Myracle did so, but clearly felt that she had been treated unfairly. Although she agreed to withdraw, she requested that the National Book Foundation make a contribution to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates for gay youth. Reportedly, the National Book Foundation will donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.