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.
Senators Regala (left) and Ranker.
On the evening of February 1, 2012, the Washington state Senate voted in favor of equal marriage rights. The bill passed by a 28-21 margin, with four Republicans joining 24 Democrats in the majority, and three Democrats joining 18 Republicans in the minority. The most memorable speeches during the debate were by Democratic Senators Regala and Ranker.
The bill is expected to be passed by a large majority in the House, and Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, who initiated the bill, will happily sign it into law. The law will almost certainly be subjected to a public referendum in November.
The debate in the Senate was mainly subdued, though the expected canards about religious liberty were raised and amendments were voted down.
But two speeches were particularly noteworthy.
Senator Debbie Regala spoke about how marriage has changed over the years and mentioned that she married "one year after the ban on interracial marriage was struck down by the Supreme Court." Senator Regala said that she was very glad the definition of marriage changed.
Senator Kevin Ranker revealed that he is the son of a gay man and that he knew first-hand the discrimination--the "shame and silence"--his father faced as a result of his sexual orientation. Ranker reminded his colleagues that "separate can never be equal."
Thanks to Stuart Wilbur at The New Civil Rights Movement for calling attention to the speeches, which may be seen in the video below.