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.
Former DNC Chairperson Howard Dean. Photograph by Matt Wright (GFDL 1.2).
On April 4, Freedom to Marry announced that four former chairs of the Democratic National Committee have endorsed a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party's 2012 platform.
The former chairs--Howard Dean, Donald Fowler, Steve Grossman, and David Wilhelm--joined such other officials as former Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa in calling for the Party to take an unambiguous position in favor of marriage equality. A marriage plank has also been endorsed by nearly two dozen senators and other high ranking officials.
The growing impetus for a marriage plank in the Party platform increases the pressure on President Obama to "evolve" toward his own embrace of equal marriage rights.
Inasmuch as the Republican Party will almost certainly include a platform denouncing marriage equality, the question of equal rights will be a defining issue separating the parties in the 2012 Presidential election. All the remaining Republican Presidential candidates, including favorite Mitt Romney, have signed the National Organization for Marriage's pledge to oppose same-sex marriage.
Angela Dallara posts the statement from the former DNC chairs at Freedom to Marry's website.
The statement reads, "We are proud that the Democratic Party fights for working families, economic justice, and equal opportunity for all. Times change but our principles must always remain strong. That is why, as former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, we stand with Freedom to Marry, 22 Democratic senators, Leader Nancy Pelosi, and more than 35,000 Americans in urging the Party to include a freedom to marry plank in the platform that is ratified at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September."
Dean served as DNC Chair from 2005 to 2009; Fowler from 1995 to 1997, during President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign; Grossman from 1997 to 1999, during President Clinton's second term; and Wilhelm from 1993 to 1994, during President Clinton's first term.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, issued the following statement in response to the announcement from the former chairs: "Fighting for families, freedom, and inclusion in the American Dream is the Democratic Party's DNA--its history, values, and vision for the country. That's why so many of the most influential Party leaders--including, today four of the most recent Party chairs--support a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic Party platform."
In the clip below, Fowler appears on Jennifer Granholm's Current TV show to explain why the four former chairs endorsed the marriage equality plank.