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.
Sen. Ed Murray. Photograph by Ryan Georgi (CC BY 2.0).
On November 13, 2012, Washington state Senator Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat who led the state's marriage equality fight, was named Majority Leader of the state Senate. Murray served eleven years in the state House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2006.
Murray was the co-sponsor of the state's marriage equality bill, which passed earlier this year and was affirmed by voters in the November 6, 2012 election. Murray described the victory at the polls as rectifying an injustice.
He has been the partner of Michael Shiosaki for more than two decades. The couple is expected to wed soon.
Murray, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, was elected majority leader by acclamation. He replaces Sen. Lisa Brown of Spokane, who did not seek re-election. Murray is the first openly gay caucus leader in state history and the only openly gay Senate leader currently serving in the nation.
Following news of Murray's selection, Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said that he "has proven that openly LGBT Americans have much to offer their communities as leaders and representatives, and his commitment to open and honest public service has set an example for LGBT youth."
The first openly gay state Senate leader in the United States was the late Allan Spear of Minnesota. He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1972 and came out publicly in 1974. Spear served a total of 28 years in the senate, retiring in 2000. He was President of the Senate from 1992 to 2000.
Four openly gay Democrats have been selected as leaders of the lower house in other states: Assembly Speaker John Perez in California, House Speaker Gordon D. Fox in Rhode Island, incoming House Speaker Mark Ferrandino in Colorado, and Oregon Representative Tina Kotek.
In the video below from February 14, 2012, Murray speaks at ceremony at which Governor Christine Gregoire signed the marriage equality bill he shepherded through the state senate.