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.
The wedding kiss.
Congratulations to Tshepo Cameron Modisane and Thoba Calvin Sithole, who were married on April 6, 2013 in what is believed to be one of the first traditional Zulu same-sex weddings since South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in November 2006. The couple were married in the town of KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
In February, the couple was profiled in South Africa's gay online magazine, Mamba Online. In the profile by Roberto Igual, the couple, both 27-years-old, express gratitude to their supportive families.
Modisane proposed to Sithole in June 2012. They quickly agreed to do things the African way, "respecting the traditions and customs associated with marriage." They decided to have a traditional Zulu ceremony to be followed by a traditional Western wedding later in the year. (Modisane is Tswana and Sithole is Zulu).
The men's relationship and wedding have become something of a cause célèbre in KZN, where a local newspaper featured their nuptials on the front page.
Modisane told Igual that one of the reasons he and Sithole have chosen to be so open is that they "hope to inspire people out there who are still struggling to come to terms with their sexuality."
"We see no reason to hide in darkness as if there is something to be ashamed about. Our marriage is largely symbolic and a sign that black gay men can commit and build family through a happy and loving marriage," he said.
Sithole added, "This is who we are and we are just tired of people judging with no understanding. We are people and entitled to live life to the fullest."
Both men scoffed at the widely held belief that being gay is un-African and that homosexuality was imported into Africa by Western colonialists.
"We grew up in a township and homosexual people have always been around us even though they were ridiculed by members of the community," said Modisane, who added that discrimination, through colonial laws and attitudes, is what was imported to Africa.
"Studies by historians and anthropologists have found same-sex relationships to have been in existence in pre-colonial Africa," he pointed out. "Most Africans need to stop making excuses for their own fears and embrace that same-sex relations have been happening in Africa since time immemorial."
Igual describes Modisane and Sithole as members "of a new generation of young gay Africans who are determined to claim an equal space in their communities."
South African television news channel ENCA reported sympathetically on the wedding. In the video Modisane says "Being gay is as African as being black."
Hat tip to Towleroad.com