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.
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.
Olympian Brian Orser, known for both his athleticism and artistry, led a resurgence of Canada as a force to be reckoned with in men's figure skating; after being outed in a palimony suit, he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.
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.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
In nineteenth-century America men who loved other men often suffered from guilt, but artists such as Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins celebrated male camaraderie and affection, while expatriate John Singer Sargent depicted the dandy, and photographs documented male friendships.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
May 17, 2013 is the ninth anniversary of the first legal same-sex marriages in the United States, which came as a result of a historic decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The breakthrough came in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which was argued by Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of seven gay and lesbian couples who had been denied marriage licenses.
In a 4-3 decision written by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, the court declared in August 2003 that "Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations." The majority concluded that the arbitrary exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage arbitrarily deprives them "of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law."
After a great deal of wrangling, the Massachusetts Legislature attempted to subvert the ruling by rushing through a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage but institute civil unions. Such state constitutional amendments had previously nullified court rulings in favor of the right to marry in Hawaii and Alaska, but in Massachusetts the process required that the amendment be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be presented to the voters for ratification. Hence, the proposed constitutional amendment could not prevent the marriages.
In addition, Governor Mitt Romney attempted to block implementation of the mandate by a series of questionable tactics that, to his great frustration, ultimately failed.
On May 17, 2004, for the first time in American history gay and lesbian couples entered into legal matrimony.
Although the victory in Massachusetts was shadowed by the possibility that it might be reversed by a pending constitutional amendment, Bonauto and other activists remained confident that once the public saw that marriage strengthens gay families, support for marriage equality would increase.
That optimism was vindicated in June 2007, when the Legislature, acting as a constitutional convention, voted down an even more extreme amendment sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church that would have banned both civil unions and same-sex marriage by a margin of 45 to 151.
Today large majorities in Massachusetts support marriage equality and it is in no danger of being reversed by popular vote.
In the video below, same-sex couples in Massachusetts celebrate the historic event.