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.
The logo of the Olympic Games.
Congratulations to Stephany Lee who won a place on the United State Olympic Women's Wrestling team in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and then promptly married her girlfriend, Brigg McDonald. As John Branch reports in The New York Times, the serendipity of the Olympic trials being held this year in Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal, made it possible for Lee to combine her earning a place on the Olympic wrestling team with her wedding.
On Saturday, April 21, 2012, Lee defeated two opponents to win a slot on the team. Among the 13,000 spectators at the event were her partner and her partner's two children. When Lee realized that she had won the trial, she celebrated by doing a twisting flip. At a press conference after her victory, she casually thanked a number of people who had supported her, including "my wife."
Lee and McDonald met in Colorado Springs at the Finish Line Lounge near the United States Olympic headquarters and training center. They have lived together for four years. McDonald's children took part in the brief wedding ceremony in a church in Cedar Rapids.
Lee, who will be among a small number of openly gay Olympians competing in London, has made no secret of her sexuality. She came out to her family in high school. Her parents were not surprised and were supportive.
Although the twenty-seven-year-old athlete is aware that her frankness makes her a pioneer of sorts, she disavows any desire to be a role model or to represent all lesbian athletes.
"I'm not trying to be a spokesperson for lesbians as an athlete," Lee said. "I'm just being me. Whatever comes of it is fine."
However, as Jim Buzinski notes in outsports.com, "By just being herself, Lee is a role model since that's all we can ask of anyone."
If she wins a medal in London, she is likely to gain a great deal of media attention. For now, however, she is content with a wedding ring.
"I wear a ring, and I have been wearing a ring," Lee said before Monday's ceremony. "I know I want to be with [McDonald] the rest of my life. This is a validation of that."