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.
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.
Liberace was for many the epitome of flamboyant camp, yet he was also a gay man who steadfastly refused to acknowledge publicly his sexual identity.
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.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Many gay and lesbian artists who have defied the legal and social prohibitions against explicit or sympathetic depictions of homosexuality have seen their art censored or suppressed.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
Congratulations to Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit for her display of courage and friendship in traveling to India to care for the newborn twin sons of a friend who works in her palace. In late October, when the staffer and his husband were unable to attain visas to travel immediately to care for their twins who had been delivered early by a surrogate mother, the Princess used her diplomatic passport to make the trip and to care for the newborns.
Norway's future queen did not inform Indian authorities of her plans and traveled incognito. As Reuters reports, "She spent several days caring for the twins at Manav Medicare Centre, the staff of which assumed she was a nanny."
During her absence, the Princess's name appeared in the Norwegian palace social calendar. The fact that she did not attend a Parliamentary dinner for which she was scheduled was never explained.
When a relative of the fathers arrived and was able to care for the children, Princess Mette-Marit returned to Norway. The fathers of the child finally received their visa in November. They hurried to India to bring the babies home to Norway.
In 1993, Norway became the second country to recognize same-sex partnerships. With the adoption of a new marriage law in 2008, Norway became the sixth country to permit homosexuals to marry on the same basis as heterosexuals.
Surrogacy, however, is a highly controversial issue in Norway, and paid surrogacy is effectively illegal within the country.
Not wanting to become involved in the political debate about artificial reproductive technologies, Princess Mette-Merit said in a statement, "For me, this is about two babies lying alone in a New Delhi hospital. I was able to travel and wanted to do what I could."
She added, "Sometimes life presents you with situations with few good solutions. This was one of those. There is an important debate going on about surrogacy and this was not meant as taking a side."
Princess Mette-Marit became Crown Princess of Norway upon her marriage in 2001 to Crown Prince Haakon, heir apparent to the throne of Norway. A commoner and a single mother, she was considered a controversial figure at the time of her engagement.
As Crown Princess, however, she has won the affection of the Norwegian people. She has become associated particularly with humanitarian and charitable enterprises, including support for the arts and for programs aimed at combating AIDS.
The Princess attended the July 2012 AIDS conference in Washington D.C. In the video below, she speaks to CNN about the conference and the fight against AIDS.